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B. B, & MALJNDA Kl^f 1 



Non resistance Under Test 

By J. S. Hartzler 

Assisted by a 

Committee Appointed by Mennonite General 

"The weapoMs of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God." 

Scottdale, Pa. 





As many have undertaken to write the history 
of the recent World War and the issues involved, it 
seemed good to some that we also should write upon 
that phase of it w'hich most vitally affects nonresist- 
ant people, especially the Mennonites of America. 

AiiQoi% the first to suggest siich a work was 
J. S. Hartzkr, the principal writer of this vokime. 
As one of those who were actively engaged in 
looking after the welfare of our young men who for 
conscience' sake could have no part in carnal war- 
fare, he with others felt that there should be a care- 
ful writetip of events, a clear statement of issues in- 
volved, and a record kept of what our nonresistant 
people did to meet the problems arising from the 
war. Alter one of his trips to the camps he gave 
expression to his convictions in this matter. The 
proposed book was thoroughly discussed from every 
angle, and all who expressed themselves gave voice 
to the conviction that it should be written. 

But who to write the book was the question. 
Most of those who had gnven the problems arising 
from the war the most serious attention were encum- 
bered with other duties and therefore not in position 
to undertake the work. Brother Hartzler was finally 
chosen lo write the book. 

Soon after this, letters came from brethren in 


different communities who (without knowing any- 
thing about this which we have just mentioned) de- 
scribed the identical book and urged that it be writ- 
ten. Accordingly a committee, including those wh* 
had thus written, wais formed, and after fuirthcr con- 
sultation it was again decided that Brother Hartzler 
should be the writer. The committee thus formed 
was as follows: J. S. Hartzler, N. H. Mack, S. G. 
Shetler, Vernon Smudker, Daniel Kauffman. The 
work was prepared as rapidly as circumstances 
would permit. The manuscripts about completed, 
we found ourselves near the meeting of another ses- 
sion of General Conference. This body discussed the 
advisability of publishing such a woilc at some 
length. The concensus of opinion expressed was 
that a work of such general interest should be pub- 
lished by authority of General Conference and an en- 
larged committee was appointed to take charge of it. 
Following are the names of those on the committee: 
S. G. Shetler, J. S. Shoemaker, George R. Brunk, 
N. H. Mack, Vernon Smucker, J. S. Hartzler, Daniel 
Kauffman. By action of the committee it was de- 
cided that Brother Hartzler should rewrite the book 
in conformity with the views expressed at General 
Conference, and with the aid of the committee the 
work was completed. Thanks are due, also, to a 
number of other brethren and friends who aided ma- 
terially in furnishing the necessary data and com- 
piling the work. 

This book, having been more than two years in 
the making, is before you. It is dedicated to the 
cause of peace and good will, to the cause of truth 
and righteousness. The imperfections of men are 
apparent in the makeup of the volume, but we trust 


that the strength and importance of the cause may 
make this a valuable reference book. With the hope 
that God may use this effort to the strengthening of 
His cause among men, and with confidence that He 
will always care for His own, we submit this message 
for your prayerful consideration. 

D. K. 

Table of Contents 

Chapter Page 

Preface 3 

Introduction 9 

I. Early History of the Church 13 

II. Mennonites and Other Wars 23 

III. The World War 39 

IV. The Issues Involved 49 

V. Important Meetings and Their Results 55 

VI. Our Brethren in Canada 70 

VII. Our Brethren in the Draft 86 

VIII. Our Brethren in the Draft (Continued) 99 

IX- Our Brethren in the Draft (Continued) 112 

X- Some Experiences in Camp 122 

XI. The Disciplinary Barracks 135 

XII. Home Experiences which Grew out of 

War Measures 150 

XIII. Camp Visitations 167 

XIV. Relief Work 177 

XV. Lessons Taught by the War 215 

XVI. Problems for the Church 226 
Index 239 


It has been a 'great pleasure to me to read the 
manuscript for the new book, Mennonit-es in the 
World War, written and published under the direc- 
tion of th« Mennonite General Conference. The 
brethren who were made responsible for this work 
have all had practical experience, have been more or 
less prominently connected with the leading move- 
ments and organizations of the Mennonite Church 
for a number of years, which, with the deep interest 
they took in preserving and safeguarding our peace 
policies, serves to qualify them for the production of 
this book. In principle the book brings no new 
story; it merely reiterates the teachings of Christ 
and His followers down to the present generation. 
During these years the faith was severely tested and 
the Gospel of peace was preserved only after many 
severe struggles an-d a great cost of human life. The 
tortures of rack, the flames at the stake, and the jaws 
of the wild beasts in the arena were all brought to 
bear on this faith but unable to destroy it. The 
marvelous heroism of the "Apostle" and "Prisoner of 
the Lord," facing the darkest world with no weapon 
other than "The sword of the Spirit;" a Livingstone 
in benighted Africa ; a Paton among the South Sea 
Islanders; a Menno Simons among a fanati<:al and 
unrighteous priesthood ; a William Penn in the midst 
of savage Indians — have been constant sources of 
inspiration to the unfaltering spirit of the ardent 


supporters of the message : *'0n earth peace, good 
will toward men." 

The opposition of Mennonites to war is not of a 
sudden growth, but it is an abiding conviction in the 
Church ibased on the teachings of our Savior and 
traces back to some of the persecuted Christians out- 
side of Romanism to the times of Christ and His 
apostles. The principles of peace and opposition to 
war have been deeply implanted into the very life- 
blood of every true Mennonite through four cen- 
turies, and to violate this now would rob them of a 
sacred religious principle, giving them a guilty con- 
science before God. Their unfriendly attitude toward 
war is not founded upon disloyalty to government 
but upon the conviction that the Gospel of Christ Is 
a Gospel of peace and that ''They that take the sword 
shall perish with the sword." 

The Mennonites gratefully recognize the good 
will of our government in the enactment of such laws 
as offer continued protection and religious liberty — 
laws which attracted our forefathers to this country 
and has been the occasion of constant joy and thanks- 
giving to Almighty God. 

Years have come and gone, and whatever the 
trials of faith may have been, today we stand on the 
threshold of a new era. The untried future with all 
its mysteries and opportunities lies before us. We 
review our past experiences and try to understand 
what this has meant to us individually and collective- 
ly. Thinking of the experiences as recorded in this 
book, we marvel at what has been done. We have 
just begun to realize what can be accomplished by 
careful, prayerful, united eflFort. 

In connection with this spiritual awakening we 


owe a debt of gratitude both to our church leaders 
who have had the rule over us and to those who have 
manifested in their lives that composure of soul and 
that intimate connection with their Lord in the noble 
defense of the faith. The influence from the lives of 
our sincere young brethren has been woven by in- 
visible hands into the very texture of our souls and 
into the life of the Church. We have come to under- 
stand and appreciate each other and to "know Him" 
better by having witnessed His handiwork in these 
noble lives. 

Joy and sadness mingle as voices call and hands 
beckon us to penetrate spiritual darkness in the na- 
tions that lie prostrate before us. We must needs go. 
We are His witnesses. Around the Prince of Peace 
we must rally. In pursuit of it we must gather our 
forces and set our hearts to the "regions beyond" and 
proclaim the Gospel which "is the power of God to 
every one that believeth." 

I have read the manuscript for this book with 
profound interest. Tears flowed freely at times, then 
again my heart throbbed with praise and thankful- 
ness to God. The simple, pathetic way truths and 
experiences are told adds much to its effectiveness. 
May God's choicest blessings accompany this mes- 
sage and all who in bold defense of the faith shared 
to bring a seemingly lost vision of the Prince of 
Peace anew to a dying world. 

Albert J. Steiner. 




Jesus Christ built His Church upon the Rock. 
K«i>twithstanidin'g waves of persecution, infidelity, and 
iEBdifference which have swept over it, it is still 
tfeere, and we have the assurance that the gates of 
bell shall not prevail against it. The Church grew 
rajpidly from the beginning, with Jerusalem as a 
ccictter around which the believers flocked until per- 
scicution began to rage, when "They that were scat- 
tered abroad went everywhere preaching the Word." 
With all that the followers of Christ became very 
fBKaaneroiis in some places and passed through ten 
gimera] persecutions before the time of Constantine, 
nether sacred nor profane history shows that 
they avenged wrongs or tried to protect themselves 
€»r their government with carnal weapons. On the 
exwitrary they professed to be "strangers and pil- 
gffims," and their lives corresponded with their pro- 
fession. Matt. 5:21-26,38-48; Luke 6:27-29; John 
18:36 and kindred Scripturres were the basis of one 
<yi the tenerts of their creed. 


A number of 'things led away from the simple 
fejth. First, heath>en customs had crept into the 
Charch already in Paul's time an<i continued. Sec- 


ond, heresies became more numerous. Gnosticism, 
Montanism, Sabellianism, and Manichaeanism are 
among the most striking examples. Third, the idea 
that it required an elevation to the priesthood to 
rightly interpret the Scriptures led common people 
away from the Bible instead of to it, and naturally 
the people became less and less devoted to its teach- 
ings. Fourth, the Roman Church became somewhat 
idolized. Cyprian said, "One visible Church and one 
only, can be right. In it and not beyond it, is the 
abcKie of the Holy Spirit." This held nominal 
membership in a visible church so high that it be- 
came an end in itself rather than a means to an end. 
These things tended to make the Church more 
worldly, and at the same time caused the truly de- 
\ out to lament the conditions and finally to with- 
draw fellowship from Romanism. They could not 
fellowship the corrupftions that naturally came into 
the bod}-, and the once persecuted now became the 
persecutors. Those who dared to stand against 
those things were at once branded as heretics. This 
was perfectly natural in the light of Cyprian's state- 

Church and State. 

But even a corrupt Christianity has same ad- 
vantages over a pagan religion. The number of 
adherents increased until the State courte<l alliance 
with the Church. Just before going into battle with 
?vlaxentius, also one of the rivals for the Rcrnian 
throne, Constantine declared himself in favor of 
Christianity, won a signal victory, and ma^e Chris- 
tianity the religion of State. That wa? a sad day 
for the Church. 


Persecutions, hard as they were to bear, were 
a blessing in keeping- out those who were not true. 
But since Christianity had been made the religion 
of State, it had also become popular to "belong to 
Church." Many became Christians in name for 
pversonaJ gain. A form of piety was all that was 
necessary for office whether in government or in 
religkrus wor^. Church ordinances became a means 
of salvation in the minds of people — baptism to 
wash aw^y sin; the communion to eat the literal 
fiesli of Qirist and to drink His literal blood as a 
means of purification, and in itself a great virtue; 
alms-grving a means of placing accounts on the cred- 
it side of the ledger in hea\*en. 

Developments of the Papacy. 

Step by step conditions developed which led to 
the reign of a few in spiritual matters. Then rivalry 
did not cease until one was considered superior to 
all others. He was called the father of the Church 
on eairth, the papa or pope. Hereafter no one was 
expected to find fault with him or his work. When 
SymmadnLs was pope, a member of the s\Tiod was 
appointed to try him for some charge brought a- 
gainst him. Symmachus said, "God alone should 
try the Bishop of Rome.*' 

Persecutions from within 

In all ages after that there were those who 
wouM not boAv to the mandates of the Roman 
Churcb but ratlier suffered terrible persecutions. 
Faber, in speaking of the Paulicans (so called be- 
cause they so often quoted from the Apostle Paul) 
says, *"Il»e firmness of their religious adherence to 


principle was marked by their frequerut and ready 
submission to martyrdom. Hundreds of thent were 
burned alive upon a huge funeral pile." 

John Haynes Holmes, in his book, "New Wars 
for Old," gives some illustrations of the position of 
the early Christians He says, '*One said, 'It is not 
lawful to bear arms.' Another, 'Because I am a 
Christian I have abandoned my profession as a 
soldier.' A third, 'I am a Christian and therefore I 
can not fight.' A fourth, 'I can not fight if I die; 
I am not a soldier of this world but a soldier of 
God.' " Speaking of the time when the Church was 
largely won by the Roman Empire, he says, "One 
of the most surprising results of this conquest of 
Christianity by the Empire is the practical annihila- 
tion of the doctrine of nonresistance, which had 
played suc'h a conspicuous and heroic part in the 
early history of the Qiurch." 

The same author, speaking of the Catharists or 
Cathari, says, "It is a matter of record that when 
the persecutors of Rome fell upon them with fire 
and sword and rock — pillaged their homes, tortured 
their old and young, and slaughtered men, women, 
and children, all alike without compunction — they 
died for the faith that was within them." 

Peter Waldo, the Waldenses and Kindred Sects 

Peter Waldo was a rich merchant in the city 
of Lyons, France, who lived in the tvsnelftii century, 
became converted and devoted his entire fortune to 
translating the Scriptuires and placing them within 
the reach of the common people. He went forth to 
preach the Word with the power of the Holy Ghost. 
Chamber's Encyclopaedia contains the following re- 


garding Waldo : "He was less the founder of a sect 
than a representative and leader of a wide-spread 
struggle against the corruptions of the clergy." In 
speaking of the "struggle" it must not be understood 
that this was with carnal weapons, for this would 
be contrary to the claims made in his preaching. He 
held that the nonresistant principles of the New Tes- 
tament had their roots back in the decalogue. His 
followers were hunted like wild beasts of the forest 
and hundreds of them sealed their faith with their 
life blood, but they would in no wise use physical 
force in self-defense. Chamber, in speaking of the 
Waldenses, says, "They are shown to be identical 
with the followers of Waldo, but they must not be 
confounded with the Albigenses who were persecut- 
ed at the same period. The protesrt of the Waldens- 
es against the Church df Rome only related to prac- 
tical qnestgons, that of the Albigenses related to 
matters of doctrine." Both these bodies were non- 

Alphonsus, King of Airagon who made a decree 
against what he called heretical sects — a decree of 
death — further says, "If from this day on any one 

shall receive said Waldenses or other heretics 

•of whatsoever confession, into their house, or hear 
their pernicious preaching in any place or give them 
food, or dare show them any other favor, be it 
known to the same that he has incurred the disfavor 
of God and of tis, that he is ptinishable for the 
crime of "leze-majesty," and that his goods shall be 
confiscated without appeal." Regardless of this the 
doctrine spread and believers and teachers found 
reftrge and food. This was very trying to the au- 
thorities mho in some cases offered piardon to the 


heretics if they would only tell who gave them shel- 
ter, but the language of one seemed to be the 
thought of all. A woman was on trial for her life^ 
Her persecutors said : *'\\'e want to know w^hom 
you have taught." She simply said, *'Let me in 
])eace with this, but initerrogate me concerning my 
faith of whith I will gladly tell you." In some bur- 
roughs half of the people were either murd-ered or 
imprisoned for their faith, but their only defense 
was the Gospel of Jesus Christ which they gave 
with earnestness to those who persecuted them. 

Reformers and Nonresistance 

Martin Luther's position on nonresistance was 
a very peculiar one. He held that the Bible taught 
nonresistance, and in ordinary life should be prac- 
ticed; but tha.t citizens of a country are obliged to- 
hght at times. In other words, nonresistance is our 
duty as Christians, but as citizens we can not live 
up to the teachings of the Bible. 

Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss reformer, in his "Ad- 
monitions to Those at Schwyz," says, "But if we 
locyk at it from a Christian viewpoint, it is by no 
means right for us to go to war. According to 
Christ's teachings we should pray for those who 
speak evil of us, and when we have been smitten on 
one cheek, turn the other also; for thus we shall 
be sons of our heavenly Father" (Vol. II, Page 294) 
At the same time he held that Church and State 
should be one, but he found this impossible if he 
was going to carry out his own writings, and hence 
from this standpoint admitted that war was neces- 
sary at times. He wras required to take part in a 
battle between the Catholic cantons of Lucerne and 


the canton of Zurich. The latter army was defeated 
and Zwingli was among the slain. 

Both Calvin and Erasmus, both men of learning 
and prominent in the reformation in France and 
Holland as well as beyond the borders of their own 
country, taught nonresistan-ce. The former said, 
"Trust in the power of man is to be unconditionally 
renounced; if there is need, God will work a miracle 
to save His Church." But then, as now, nonre- 
sistance was not a popular doctrine, and Calvin 
finally yielded the point, but Erasmus continued a 
firm advocate of that doctrine to the end of his life. 
His "Plea for Reason, Religion, and Humanity A- 
gainst War," was scholarly, clear, and convincing. 

Menno Simons 

What Luther was to Germany, or Calvin to 
Switzerland, Menno Simons was to the Netherlands 
— and more. Menno's heart was stirred because of 
the many believers who were as "sheep having no 
shepherd," their leaders having been imprisoned 
or killed. For these he sufifered agonies of body and 
mind. One quotation from his writings shows much 
regarding the disposition of the man. "This is my 
only joy and the desire of my heart, that I may ex- 
tend the borders of the kingdom of God, make 
known the truth, reprove sin, teach righteousness, 
feed the hungry souls with the Word of the Lord, 
lead the stray sheep into the right path, and win 
many sotrls for the Lord through His Spirit, powe^ 
and grace." 

Menno and Nonresistance 

On the question of nonresistance, Menno said, 
"O beloved reader, our weapons are not swords and 


spears, but tpatience, silence and hope, and the Word 
of God. With these we musit maintain our cause 
and defend it. Paul said, 'The weapons of our war- 
fare are not carnal; but mighty througfi God.' 
With these we intend and desire to resist the king- 
dom of the devil ; and not with swords, spears, can- 
non, and coats of mail Behold, reader, such re- 
bellion we seek to cause, but never a rebellion of 
calamity. .. .True Christians know no vengeance, 
no matter how they are maltreated." 

His Work and Death 

Menno was a great organizer. With him it was 
not a question of name l>ut of faith and belief. In 
his interviews he found Waldenses, Anabaptists, 
Hussites, etc., who agreed with him on the teach- 
ings of the Scriptures and he received them into the 
body as members of the Church. In this his work 
readied far beyond the borders of his own country. 
He was hunrted like a wild beast. Criminals were 
promised pa-rdon for any crime whatsoever, if they 
arrested or even killed him. His sacrificing dis-po- 
sition was not appreciated regardless of his desire 
to help man'kind and glorify God. Thirty years of 
active service, under the greatest persecution, with 
a reward offered for his head, under privations and 
exposure, ali for Christ's sake, was too much for 
his mortal body, and in his sixty-sixth year he 
passed to his reward. 

Menno's Followers 

These (principles iraplanted into the lives of his 
followers made them as despised as he himself was. 
In times of war they would have no part in the 
conflict. During* the religious wars of Europe both 


Protesttants and Catholics suspecte-d them of treach- 
ery. Both persecuted them because of this, but that 
did not prevent them from following the beautiful 
example of their Master in forgiving, and praying 
for their persecutors. They fled to other countries 
for refuge (Matt. 10:23) only to be driven from 
there later. 

From Germany to Russia 

At the invitation to Catharine II, Czarina of 
Riissia, a great many Mennonites moved from Ger- 
many to her country with the promise of freedom 
of worship, freedom from military service, freedom 
of education, and exemption from certain taxes cm 
conditions that they settle in a part of the country 
which required a great deal of work to bring under 
cultivation This began in 1788 and continued at 
intervals, so that (accorrding to J. J. Wiens, an evan- 
gelist from that country) there were at the begin- 
ning o^ the late war, eig^ht settlements in Russia 
and three in Siberia, several of them quite large. 
Considei*ing the fact that there was a large exodns 
of Mennonites from Russia to America, Germany 
must have lost thousands of these people to Russia. 

From Europe to America 

For various reasons there were periods of un- 
rest in Germany. During one of these, thirteen 
Mennonite families left there and settled in what is 
now Germantown, Pa., in 1683. During the next 
thirteen years quite a number more came. William 
Penn offered the Mennonites of Europe freedom of 
worship and exemption from military service if they 
would move to Pennsylvania. The news spread 
rapidly and between 1710 and 1735 possibly five 


hundred families left Europe, most of them from 
(Germany and Switzerland, and settled in Lancaster 
county, Pennsylvania. Still later the Napoleonic idea 
•of conscription aroused the nonresiatant people 
ag-ain, and wthile there was no immediate danger, 
many people felt that this was their time to leave 
and turned their minds toward America. Between 
1800 and 1850 a larg^e number left Europe and set- 
tled in different parts of the United States. 

Militarism and Emigration 

Military i>ressure was not directly responsible 
for all the emig-ration, but in many cases the cause 
can easily be traced to it indirectly. Thes-e emi- 
grants were among the best tillers of the soil, and 
were a class of people which the country could ill 
afford to lose. Helping the needy, honest work, fair 
dealing-, and living quietly were all traits of the Men- 
-iionites — 'traits which make for good citizenship 
notwithstanding the fact that they would not fight. 
Hie efforts to strengthen the military laws of Eu- 
rope took many of these people away and thus only 
weakened the country. ''Except the Lord build the 
house, they labor in vain that build it." 



Growth of Militarism in Europe 

The barbarous practices of war had been in 
vogue in Europe as far back as one can trace, re- 
;gardless of the advancement made along the lines 
of education and science. As a country excelled in 
one thing, its rival must excel in some other as a 
means of protection. Fear an<i jealousy were gen- 
eral. More and more military laws were being 
passed and it was becoming almost impossible for 
nonresistants to get exemption. Practically all the 
countries had some form of military training. In 
course of time Germany surpassed all the others in 
this. The Mennonites of that country accepted the 
oiniforni and drill under protest, but in course of 
time protests grew less and these things were not 
considered so objectionable from the standpoint of 
nonresistance. The glitter of the uniform, the glare 
of the gun, an<i the thrill of the music helped to qui- 
et the conscience, so that as the }-ears rolled by 
many young men were glad when they were old 
<!nough to begin the course of training. 

Effect of Military Training 

Having on*ce taken the training there was little 
use to plead conscientious objections, and as a rule 
the Mennonites accepted some form of quartermas- 


ter service or Red Cross work. Wiith the attractions 
held up before theni in song and sermon, the glory 
of the empire and the duty of loyalty were made to 
stand out very prominently. With these conditions, 
and the idea of divine right of kings, it is easy to 
see how the doctrine of nonresistance became a sec- 
ondary matter, esipecially when accompanied with 
the idea that if war was not right the responsibility 
rested with the offtcials who were resfHDnsible for 
the war and compelled the individual to serve. 
However, in some parts of the German empire the 
C. O.'s received more consideration. 

Russia Rescinding her Promise 

The privileges accorded to the Mennonites who 
went from Germany to Russia caused many of the 
Russians to become jealous. Complaints were 
brought to the government regarding such discrim- 
ination, and in time it withdrew these privileg:eSy 
one of which, as will be remembered, was exemp- 
tion from military service. At once the Mennonites 
began to look for new homes. They sent commit- 
tees to different parts of the world to find favorable 
countries and conditions. This resulted in a large 
number going to America. The Czar regretted los- 
ing so many of his most prosperous subjects, and 
on hearing that many more were going to leave, he 
sent one of his best diplomats among them with a 
].'romisc of certain exemiptions. After some nego- 
tiations the following was granted : "The Menno- 
nites who shall be called out for military service 
shall be assigned to duty only at other places than 
at the front, as in hospitals, in military works and 
.similar establishments, and s-hall be exempt froi» 


bearing arms. This provision shall not include sucli 
Mennonites as shall unite with the Church after the 
new military law sihall have come into force, or such 
2S shall come into the Russian Empire from any 
foreign country." 

'Many of the Mennonites accepted this and re- 
mained in the country, and in case of war they 
were allowed to take forestry instead of service at 
the front. They planted trees and cut out under- 
brush and dead timber. They were under the di- 
rections of a man who had military training but 
who at that time was a civilian. This did not prove 
very satisfactory. It gave no protection to those 
who became members of the Church after the law 
went into effect. Parents saw that their son's were 
destined to accept combatant service or suffer per- 
secution at the ihands of government. Also, that if 
they remained their posterity would soon k)se the 
principle of nonresistance entirely. This brought 
on the -second wave of emigration to America. 

European Trend and Nonresistance 

With such strong counter-currents against them, 
not only in Russia but in Holland, Germany, Switz- 
erland and France, the Mennonites of Europe either 
emigrated or largely lost their nonresistance. Tak- 
ing any kind of service a few decades ago meant 
noncombatant service for tiheir children and com- 
batant service for their grandchildren. It meant 
compromise on a Grospel principle, and while that 
may be a seeming advantage for the time being, it 
invaria'bly means disadvantage in time to come. 
True nonresistance is not a matter of taste, ease, or 


trial, but of obedience to the teachings of Christ and 
His apostles on this subject. 

Nonresistance Affects Actions 

Nonresistance is inseparably connected with fair 
dealing because the party knows that he can not de- 
fend himself, and he must be careful so that there 
will be no occasion to resist. That was William 
Penn's way of dealing Avith the Indiana, and the 
very small amount of blood that was shed in the 
early settlements of Pennsylvania compared wnth 
marauding and murders committed in other colo- 
nies tells its own story. Incidents could be given 
where the nonresistant attitude of a lew faithful 
people saved whole settlements from these ravages. 

Ancient and Modern Councils of Defense 

The following show^s that in Revolutionary 
times these same classes of people were required to 
suffer for their faith, — and compared with condi- 
tions in some localities during the great World War 
it is an evidence that the improvement has been 
comparatively small regardless of our boasted 
growth in civilization : 


at Lancasfter, Penna.. on the 2()th day of May, 1775. Edwin 
Shippen, Esq., Chairman. 

"The Comniittee hav-inp; received information that di- 
vers persons, who-se relig^ious tenets forbid their forming 
IhemseJves into Mili/tary Associations, have been mal- 
treated and threatened by some violent and ill-disposed 
peo])le an the County of Lancaster, notwithstanding their 
williiitgniess to contrilxite cheerfully to the commoti cause 
otherwise than by taking up arms. 

"The Commit/tee, duly considering the sajfne. do most 
heartily recoaiwnend to the good inhabitants of the County, 


"that lli€y use every possible means to discourag^e and pre- 
vent sudi licentious proceedings and assiduously cultivate 
that harmony and union so absolutely necessary in the 
presonjt crisis in public afifairs. At the same time they 
consider it to be their indispensabile duty to intimate to 
the public their entire disapprobation of any abusive, op- 
p-robrious or insulting expressions that may be made use 
of 'by any person whatsoever against such of the respecta- 
"blf inlhabitatuts who may think proper to associate for 
the defense and support of their inestimable rights and 

"The Committee wiill find means to bring such im- 
pudent persons to a proper sense of their misconduct. 
Yet they ardently wish and hope that no further \nolence, 
threaits or animosities may appear, but that every member 
•of the Community will readily use his utmost endeavors 
tvf -promote peace, good order and unanimity among the 
inha'biitants of this respectable county." 

LANCASTER. Printed by Francis Bailey, King 
Street, 1775. 

The above is a verbatim copy of the Eng-lish 
part of a handbill which is now on exhibition in 
East Wing- of Independence Hall, Philadelphia. The 
German translation is printed on the same handbill. 

Some of the Councils of Defense serving during' 
tlie late war and winking at mobs and mob vio- 
lence might have learned a lesson from their great- 
grandfatihers that would have been worthy of their 

Memionites and Tories 

At the time of the Revolution there was a 
class of people living in the various colonies which 
sympathized with the British, called ''Tories." They 
naturally opposed the war. Others, among them 
Amish and Mennonites, were also opposed to it. 
"but were not at all in sympathy with the actions of 
the Tories. Many of the colonists could not under- 
stand 'how any one could be opposed to what they 
'Were doing* and not be in sympathy with the enemy. 


The Tories kit sure that these nonresistants were 
helping the colonists, and that their opposition to 
the war was simply a means of hiding their true 
position. This meant persecution from both sides, 
as is shown in the report of the Committee of In- 
spection and Observation, just given. 

Some Trials 

The following from Hartzler and Kauffman's 
"Mennonite Church History" shows some of the 
trials which came upon this people: 

"Durin'g the war many of the able-bodied Amish 
brethren of Berks counfty (Pa,), were drafted into service. 
Refusing to serve, tliey were imprisoned at Reading. So 
many were thtx>wn into -prison that the women were com- 
pel'kd to work in the fields to support their families. Ac- 
cording to tradition those who were imprisoned for re- 
fusintg to do military service were sentenced to be shot, 
and the day was set for their execution, A meeting was 
held in the Reading prison to administer the Lord's sttppcr 
to the condemned brethren. But the execution was never 
carried into effect. Throug-h the Heading of a kind Prov- 
idence, friends interfered (particularly Henry Hertzel, Pas- 
tor of the Reformed Church) who appeaJed to the author- 
ities in behalf of those who had fled from Europe to escape 
military service and who could not be expected to do 
what their conscience forbade them to do in their former 
country. The appeal was heard and the peace-loving pris- 
oners were set free." 

Exemptions: Letter of Thanks 

As early as 1775 the Pennsylvania Assembly 
passed a law exempting the Mennonites and Qua- 
kers from military service under certain circum- 
stances. The Mennonites wrote a letter of thanks 
to the Assembly and had a number of the bishops 
to sici^n it. The following are extracts from it: 

"To the Honorable Asscm'bly In the first place 

we acknowledge us indt^btcd to the most Ivig'h God, who 
■created heaven and earth, the only 'good Being for all His 


great goodness and manifold mercies and love through 

our Savior Jesus Chriist 

* * * * 

"Further, we find ourselves indebted to be thanlcful to 
omr late worthy Assembly for theiir 'giving so g-ood an ad- 
vice in these troublesome times to all ranks of people in 
Pennsylvania, parli-cuilarly in allowing those who, by the 
doctrine 'of our Savior Jesus Chrisit are persuaded in their 
ccMi'Science to love their enemies and not to resist evil to 

enjoy the liberty of their 'conscience The advice to 

those v^'ho do not find freedom of conscience to take up 
arms, that they ought to be helpful ito 'those who are in 
need and distressed circumstances, -we receive with cheer- 
fulness towards all men of what station they may be — it 
beirug our princi'ple to feed the hungry and give the thirsty 
■drink; — we have dedicated ourselves to serve alil men in 
everything that can be helpful to the preservation of men's 
lives, but we find no freedom in giving or di&iug, or as- 
sisting in any thing by which men's Lives are destroyed 
or hurt. — We beg the patience of all those who believe we 
err in this point." 

Records are still extant, 'giving the names with 
their respective amounts paid in money fines to be 
freed from military service on the above basis. 

The war spirit ran ihigh. Mob violence was 
not uncommon even in communities where the prac- 
tices of the Church should have been well known. 
Government protests did little good as the parties 
who carried them on did them in the name of loy- 
alty, not realizing that they were encouraging an- 
archy instead of good citizensihip. 

Fines, War taxes, Oath of Allegiance 

There were some Mennonites who objected to 
paying fines, war taxes, and practically all of them 
objected to taking the new oath of allegiance. They 
objected to the last one, not because they were dis- 
loyal but because they objected to the oath under 
any ctrcumstances. Finally an agreement was 
reached between them and government which was 


fairly satisfactory to both, but many people couiil 
not (or at least would not) understand why any 
concession should be made because of What to them 
seemed like a mere whim. 

Finances and Mennonites 

While government was in need of good meats 
for the army, many of these prosperous farmers iiad 
fat cattle and were offered very high prices for them 
but were not willing to accept continental money 
because it had depreciated so much and no one 
knew how soon it might be absolutely worthless. 
Xot any one of these things was responsible for 
the feelings against the Mennonites, but all of them 
together. Mobs took away horses and cattle with 
seemingly no intent of ever returning them, and in 
many cases never did. Another condition whiclv 
meant loss and sufifering was, that some of the bat- 
tles were fought in Mennonite communities. Smith's 
"The Mennonites of America" says, "The little 
stone church at Germantown which had been built 
just a few years before occupied the very center tA 
the battle-field in the battle of Germantown. The 
winter quarters at Valley Forge, made famous be- 
cause of the intense hardships endured by tihe Amer- 
ican troops, was in a Mennonite community. Some 
Mennonites were compelled to do hauling" for the 
army during that time. The adage that 'trials nev- 
er come .single handed' seemed to be verified a- 
mong the Mennonites in Southeastern Pennsylvania, 
but as is always the case, those who bore them in 
the right way and with the right s'pirit were made 
the better for them. They drove the victims closer 
to Him who bears our griefs and carries our sor- 


rows, and who promised, "I will never leave thee 
nor forsake thee.' " 

Emigration to Canada 

A large majority of the Mennonites and Amish 
in the colonies were in sympathy with the ends 
sought by this country in the war, but not with the 
means used to attain them. However, there were 
those who questioned ; First, the right to take away 
British territory even if England did the wrong 
thing in oppressing the colonists ; and, Second, 
the advantages of any other form Off government 
over that of a kingdom. ^lany of those who held 
lo the latter idea and had prospered under King 
George decided that they would not forsake him 
at that time, even if they could not iig^ht for him : 
hence they moved to Canada, where they might 
btill live under his reign. 

Lesser Wars of America 

The war of 1812, sometimes called the Second 
War for Independence, the war of 1848, known as 
the ^lexican War, and the war of 1898, known as 
the Spanis-h-American \\*ar, were all fought by vol- 
imteers so that there were no serious trials for 
those who could not take part in them. 

The Civil War 

For many years the slavery question in some 
form was discussed in every congress, and many 
people beli-eved that the matter would some time 
lead to war. That time came AVhen Abraham Lin- 
coln was elected president of the United States, in 
the fall of 1860. He took the oath of office on the 
fourth of March, following, but before that time 


seven of the southern states had called conventions 
and seceded from the union. Others followed after 
that date. April 12, 1861, Fort Sumpter v^as taken 
and the w^ar begun. 

Pre-War Military Lav^^s 

Before the Civil War, in some of the southern 
states, especially in Virginia, the military lav^^s reg- 
istered all able-bodied young [men as belonging to 
the militia and required them to drill at certain 
times of the year or pay a fine for each absence. 
This seemed very easy and the Mennonites paid 
their fines without complaint; but when the Con- 
federate government called for all the militia to 
come to the front and take up arms, it included 
Mennonites as well as others. A few went, but a 
far greater number went into hiding in tlhe moun- 
tains and forests, and some remained at home and 
decided to simply await the results. Some of those 
who remained on the farm were taken into the 
ranks under protest, and it wa» understood between 
theti that none of them would do anryr fighting. Al- 
though they were soon in battle, they remained true 
to their pledge. The officers in command threat- 
ened them with court-martial and death, but the 
threat was never carried out. 

Christian Good 

Among those who ipassed through some of these 
trials was Christian Good, later a faithful minister 
of the Gospel and bishop in the Mennonite Church, 
but now gone to his reward. He had promised his 
widowed mother that he would never fire a gun 
at any one. In the first battle he was discovered 
and reported to the higher officer and charged with 


disobedience to orders. He was sent back with a 
court-martial and death threat hanging over him 
if the act was repeated. Battles followed in rapid 
succession but he would not shoot. Other-s seeing 
his courage also withheld fire. He was again 
brought before the officers with the charge of not 
firing his gun when commanded to do so. He told 
the officers that his gun would never be fired at his 
fellowmen, even if his position cost him his own life ; 
that his widowed mother expected him to be true 
to his promise. He was later exempted on tihe pay- 
ment of five hundred dollars. Quite a number of 
others had similar experiences. The Church paid 
these exemptions, but Brother Good worked two 
years on the farm to pay his part back. 

The Second Call for Men 

In the spring of 1862 the call came for every 
able-bodied man betwen the ages of eighteen and 
forty-five to take up arms. Again a number went 
into hiding. Some seventy of them, Mennonites and 
Dunkards, made an effort to escape to the northern 
states, but were captured and finally landed in the 
dreaded I^bby Prison. Two of them escaped and 
reported the matter to the home Churdh. That was 
a time of prayer and supplication. Through some 
of the ©flficers of the Confederate government who 
knew something about the Mennonites and their re- 
ligious principles, a law was passed which gave 
them exemption. L. J. Heatwole sa>"s, "This bill 
provided that all people professing the peace doc- 
trine as 3. part of their religion residing within 

the Confederate States wotild be exempt from mili- 
tary duty oo conditions that each male member of 


^uch religiotis body who was subject to bear arms, 
should pay into the treasury the sum of five hundred 
dollars." This was paid, **and all the brethren lib- 
erated from their confinement." In 1864 the word 
came that the Confederate government had repealed 
her exemption iaws, and that all able-bodied men 
between the ages of seventeen an-d sixty should at 
once report for service. Many went into hiding 
again and some made their way to the northern 

The Shenandoah Valley; Sheridan's Raid 

In none of the other Southern States did so 
many Mennonites live as in Virginia, and by far 
the greater number of them lived in the Shenandoah 
V^alle}^ The soil is fertile and many of the farmers 
were quite prosperous. Both armies looked toward 
this vaHey for part of their supplies and in order 
that tJhe South could not get any more from here 
the Federals decided to destroy all the food in 
sight in the valley. Another quotation from Bro. 
Heatwole exjpress it very graphically : "Then to 
cap the" climax, there came the never-to-be-forgotten 
Sheridan's Raid.... From the evening of October 
^'th, to the morning of the 8th nearly all t)he barns 
and mills. .. .were set on fire in that part of Rock- 
ingham county w^herc the Mennonites were located." 

Lincoln*s Call for Men 

The next day after the fall of Fort Sumpter, 
President Lincoln called for seventy-five thousand 
men to serve three months. Many of the people in 
the North expected that the war would be over in 
a month or two. Instead of that it lasted four 
years. So long as he simply called for volunteers 


the nonresistant people kept quiet and there was 
no trouble; but drafts were frequently made, calling 
for a certain number of men from each state. These 
were apiportioned out to counties and townships. 
For a certain amount of money a wtiole township 
could be bought off. This was frequently done, and 
in this the Mennonites did their full share. Substi- 
tutes could often be gotten. Some men paid a 
thousand dollars to have some one else to take their 
place. People who had conscientious scruples a- 
gainst war and could satisfy the recruiting officer 
that they were members in good standing in a non- 
resistant organization and lived as well as believed 
the doctrine could be exempt by the payment of a 
fine of from two to six hundred dollars each, but 
that only freed tihem until the next draft when 
they were liable to be drafted again. 

Testing the Draftee 

One /illustration will show some of the methods 
used by the examining boards in testing the sin- 
cerity of those who claimed a right to exemption : 
A young' man came to such an office with a view 
of proving his rights to such exemption. When he 
came up to tlie desfk and stated what he wanted he 
was told t^at the officer who had that part to look 
after was out, but that he would be back soon, and 
pointing to a desk his informant said, "When you 
see a man come in and sit down at that desk yon- 
der, then >go and tell him what you want." The 
young man sat down on a long seat provided for 
those who were compelled to wait. Soon another 
man came in and went wp to a desk, but was told 
that he too should be seated. He sat down near 


the young man and the following conversation took 
place : 

Young man. — "Well, are you here about the 
draft too?" 

Farmer. — *'Yes, and I can hardly go on account 
of conditions at home, but I suppose wlien they 
get a person's name on the list there is no such 
thing as getting excused. He simply must go." 

Y. M. — "I'm expecting to get off." 

F. — "You are? Please tell me how you are 
going to do it. Possibly I can get ofif the same 

Y. M. — "I am conscientious." 

F. — "What do yoti mean by that? Who ever 
heard of suclh a thing?" 

Y. M. — "Well, I believe it is wrong to fight. 
All war is wrong." 

F. — "Well, how peculiar. Then, too, I have 
crops out and no one to take care of them." 

Y. M. — "Can't you get ofif on that?" 

F., — 'No, I tried, but it seems to do no good. 
Then what makes it harder for me to go, I have 
a neighbor who is very angry with me about a line 
fence, and I wanted to reason with him about it, 
but he began to curse me an-d call me all kimls of 
names. I was sorry and angry at the same time. 
What would you do if a man would talk that way 
to }ou? He is just as mean as he can be." 

Y. M. — '(Much interested, and forgetting him- 
self) "Ha, I'd slap him too quick." 

The farmer (?) lifted his coat and said, "Young 
man, you see that star? Your conscientiousness is 
not very deep. Come with me ; you can fight, all 
rit^ht. The young man had to go. 


Then, as in the late war, there were "slackers" 
who ' tried to hide under the cloak of religion, but 
many, like this man, were caught at it and made 
to do military service. The imposters usually do 
not gain what they hope to, but they surely make 
the road harder for the genuine. 

The Poor Draftee's Fine 

After the young men had met the examining 
board and proven to them that they were sincere 
there was still another problem for them to face. 
Many of them were poor and could not pay the 
fine. But the Church stood together, and in all such 
cases furnished the necessary amount for their 
brethren. They sought to follow the teachings of 
Holy Writ, "Whether one member suffer, all the 
members suffer with it." 

Contrasted Effects of Exemption 

These trials broug'ht the Church very close to- 
gether. Old and young were knit together as one 
man. The young appreciated the help of the older 
and the older appreciated the attitude of the young. 
Trials from without can not greatly harm if there 
is the right spirit within. In some communities 
there was much ill feeling because of these exemp- 
tions. There were those who did not want to go 
to war, and who even believed that war was wrong, 
but they were not members of any Church which 
held nonresistance as a tenet of therr creed. They 
felt that it was unjust to grant such privileges to 
some and not to others. Mobs were not an un- 
common thing, and in a few localities there was 
some bJood shed. Nonresistance costs; sometimes 
the price is exorbitant, but, "There is no man that 


hath left houses .... for my sa'ke and the Gospel's 
but shall receive an hundred fold now in tiiis time, 
houses. .. .with persecutions; and in the world to 
come eternal life." 


The Seeming Cause 

"Behokl how great a matter a little fire kin- 
dleth." A dozen policemen meet a mob and a battle 
follows. Two of the policemen are kilkd. Several 
arrests are made, the newspapers give a thrilling 
account of the affair, the criminals are tried and ex- 
ecuted, another account is given in the newstpaipers 
and the matter is soon forgotten. No one thinks 
of startiag a war on account of the riot. But not 
so, when on June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Fer- 
dinand, heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarllan 
throne, and hts wife were murdered while driving 
througih tiie streets of Sarayevo, the capital of Bos- 
nia. The deed was committed by a Serbian youth 
who rushed up to the automobile in which the royal 
pair were riding and fired the two shots, both of 
which proved fatal. 

Underl3nng Causes 

Sudi deeds are always to be deplored. They 
are never justifiable, but the slaying of one man 
and one woman could not for one moment be con- 
sidered sufficient cause for a declaration of war, had 
there not been other and more deeply rooted causes. 
Yet the war had been in progress for some time 
before its real causes were fully understood. 


War was fast becoming unpopular — -too much 
so to suit the war-lords of Europe. Jealousy was 
encouraged. "National honor" was disgraced and 
must be avenged, and just one month later (July 
28, 1914) Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia. 
Alliances had been formed between nations so that 
rivals were on opposite sides. Some countries re- 
mained neutral for a time but were finally drawn 
into the conflict. 

Jealousy was not alone responsible. Greed also 
had a large part in bringing on the conflict. Ger- 
many had a decided lead in the manufacture of cer- 
tain articles which were used the world over, and 
lier favorite mark was, ''Made in Germany." Eng- 
land also had the lead in some articles. The same 
might be said of some other countries. Nations 
were jealous of eadh other's commercial aggrandize- 
ment as well as of their man power. Secret recipes, 
geographical advantages, and a number of other 
things tended to fan into a flame the smoking em- 
bers. Germany saw an opportunity to humiHate 
Russia during the Russo-Japanese war, and Russia 
never forgot that. A little fanning on the part of 
the war-lords soon had all Europe ablaze. Thus one 
nation after another became involved until twenty- 
three nations of the world had either declared war 
or announced that a state of war existed between 
them and some other country. 

(Germany had a superior army, England must 
have a superior navy. France had 'her possessions 
in Africa, Russia must get a part of China, especially 
Manchuria, and thus it goes on almost indefinitely. 
The real cause for the war was in these things, 
much more than in the murder of a man and his 


wife by a young anarchist. In addition it should 
be remembered that constant military training and 
study in the intrigues and strategies of war create 
a desire to try the practicability of such knowledge. 
The thought of superiority creates a desire to show 
it to others. The study of the methods of warfare 
are no exception to this rule. 

The United States Drawn in 

For a time the United States was not involved, 
but she was too influential to be left in quietude. 
Complaints came from both sides of the conflict 
asking President Wilson to use his "good offices" 
to get the other side to cease its injustice. There 
was a cry for humane (?) warfare, but almost with 
the same breath came Germany's "Schrecklichkeit,'' 
which implied that she expected to terrify the ene- 
my. She committed insults at sea against other na- 
tions without considering whether they were neu- 
tral or foe. Many people became jealous of Amer- 
ica's national honor, and frequently in the halls of 
congress, in the pulpits, and in common conversa- 
tion came cries for war and revenge. On the other 
hand, there were a great many people who were 
seriously opposed to this country allowing itself to 
be drawn into the struggle. In 1916, the Presi- 
dential election came on, and one of the favorite 
expressions of the campaign was, "Vote for Wilson ; 
he kept us out of war." ^Nlany ascribe his re-elec- 
tion to that claim. 

War Declared — Preparation 

This gCA^ernment, and especially the President, 
was blamed by both parties for secretly favoring 
the pther side. This was not only an unpleasant 


situation, but in time was bound to bring on com- 
plications. It will always remain a question as to 
what part politics and covetousness had in the mat- 
ter of drawing America into the war. On April 6, 
1917, the President declared that a state of war ex- 
isted between the United States and Germany. 

From that moment this gK)vernment took active 
measures to supply botih men and money. The 
war department and the general public felt that the 
Mennonites and other nonresistant bodies were un- 
der obligations to furnish their full share of both 
while such bodies felt that a nonresistant church 
could not consistently furnisih either. 

Position of the Church 

Here was a new problem. The Churcli had 
been vitally and prayerfully concerned for the breth- 
ren in Canada, whose country had already been in 
the war more than two and a half years. She could 
not forfeit her position, nor did she waver. But to 
make immediate, wise, and practical applications of 
the principles of nonresistance to the ruling's of 
congress and the war department which came in 
such rapiid succession required a careful study of 
the subject. She sougiht to go just as far as she 
couild in complying with the demands of govern- 
ment without violating a Gospel principle. With 
the best of care she realized that there were trials 

Nonresistants* Position — True and False 

Numerous efforts were made by newspapers and 
public speakers to define the position of the nonre- 
sistants, but in most cases l^hey utterly failed be- 
cause they wanted to place it on the basis of, "Pass- 


ive resistance," "Noncoercion," ''Cowardice," "Pro- 
Germanism," etc. The Church would have spurned 
eiithcr of these. Since her organization she has 
based her position entirely upon the Word of God, 
znsi not on any psychological proposition. "Thus 
saith the Lord," was her basis. She takes it that 
CKrrist meant what He said When He commanded 
MS as His followers to love our enemies, to bless 
them which curse us, to do good to them that hate 
rr.s. and to pray for them that despitefully use us 
and persecute us (Matt. 5 :44) ; that "All they that 
tzke th'e sword shall perish with (not by) the 
sword" (Matt. 26:52); that in John 18:36 He laid 
down a rule which all Christian people should obey; 
that Paul's teaching regarding revenge (Rom. 12: 
17-21), going to law (I Cor. 6:1-8), and "The weap- 
ons of our warfare" (H Cor. 10:4) were for all 
peopie and for all time ; and that no argument, 
however plausible, could ever form a substitute for 
the plain teaching of God's Word. 

Most Mennonites hold that it is inconsistent 
for Christians to support war measures ; that there 
i- really no suoh thing as "noncombatant" service 
in aid of war; but that the man who made the gun 
and the man who pulled the trigger, or the man 
viTho drove the team and the man who loaded the 
cannon, all of them having in mind the overcoming 
of the enemy by means of violence, share in the re- 
sponsibility before God. 

Position Towards Government 

This position does not imply rebellion to gov- 
eirament. On the contrary, the Church believes that 
wr should obey magistrates, pray for our rulers and 


never speak evil of them, to **give honor to whom 
honor is due." Her teaching on nonresistance has 
always emphasized the duty of submission to the 
governments v\^hich provide us shelter, holding the 
single reservation that we should always remember 
that God's law is first and should be obeyed first, 
and that whenever these two laws oppose each 
other, "We ought to obey God rather than men." 

The Load of Militarism 

Conquering nations and conquerors do not long 
survive the era of their conquest. Babylon, Persia, 
Greece, Parthia, Rome, and Germany; Alexander, 
Hannibal, Napoleon, and Wilhelm are monumenls 
of this truth — a collateral proof of the doctrine of 
nonresistance, and of the truth of the statement 
that, *'A11 they that take the sword shall perish 
with the sword." 

Another Reason for Opposing War 

But even those who will not accept the Bible 
teaching on this point have ample reason for C-p- 
posing war. Think of the war just past. It lasted 
four years, three months and thirteen days; it cost 
the combined nations the enormous sum of two hun- 
dred billion dollars; it swept millions of people in- 
to eternity; it has left millions more cripples for 
life ; it has left some once powerful and wealthy- 
countries all but bankrupt, and all of those involved, 
decidedly poorer; and now calls for reconstruction 
work requiring the expenditure of hundreds of mil- 
lions of dollars and many years of time. Besides 
this, thousands of people have died of starvation 
brought on by the war, and will require the co- 
operation of Christendom if thousands more do not 


die from the same cause. War has been variously 
defined by General Sherman and others, but lan- 
guage fails one to define this war. 

Orchard and Holmes on War 

Last, but not least, notice some of the spiritual 
effects. E. W. Orchard, in his book, **The Outlook 
for Religion," presents the thought that less than 
a decade before the war a general idea prevailed 
^*that progress was inevitable to humanity ; an ir- 
resistible and quite mechanical power was working 
in the world which was forcing men upward, wheth- 
er they would or not.... We were progressing, the 
dark ages were over,.... a path of steady moral ad- 
vance lay before us. And now? Well, one is not 
sure. We are once more back to barbarity. The 
war has developed a ferocity and inhumanity which 
would have been thought impossible a few years 
ago. We have had to consider the spectacle of 
the most educated, advanced nation in the world 
perpetrating the most frightful horrors, crashing 
through an innocent country with awful brutalities. 
and this justified by her statesmen on the plea of 
Tnilitar>' necessity." 

John Haynes Holmes, in his book, "New Wars 
for Old," says : "See for example the experience of 
Dr. Frederick Lynch, as narrated in his little book, 
'Through Europe on the Eve of the War.' One day 
he tells us, he saw merchants, clerks, farmers, peas- 
ants, husbands, fathers, and brothers in France and 
Germany, going quietly about their business. On 
the next day had come the declaration of war, and 
instantly these men were transformed into beasts." 
The author then goes on to say what these same 


people did after war had been declared, but it is 
too horrifying to be recorded in a work like this* 
He further states: "And all this before fighting had 
begun, or a single drop of blood had been shed.-.. 
Talk about war purifying, ennobling, strengthening' 
men! Talk about war instilling patience, sacrifice^ 
heroism in the human heart! War is the corrupter 
of virtue, the despoiler of purity, the murderer of 
courage, honor, and chivalry." 

Smoking and Profanity 

Thousands upon thousands of soldiers at the 

end of the war are accustomed to using profane 
language who were never known to utter an oalth 
before. This is shown by a military man who in- 
vestigated the cause. From a very lai^e number 
of answers there were several causes sug^sted, 
but nearly all of them admitted that profanity had 
greatly increased in the camps. Possibly an equai 
numiber have learned to smoke who were clean men 
before the war broke out. The tobacco trust put 
out the idea that the people in America should 
soothe the boys in the trenches and show that they 
were being remembered by sending them cigars^ 
cigarettes, tobacco, pipes, etc., and a great many 
Christian peoj^jle fell into the trap, and helped the 
trust to turn clean men into inveterate smokers^ 
Surely there will be a day of reckoning. 


'Iliis is another menace, shockingly apparent itt 
many places. For illustration, let irs quote from a 
liovcrnment document, ''A Message from the Gov- 
irnmrnt to the Churches of the United States.*^ 
Among other things it says, '*The war made ft nee- 


essar}' for the nation to face frankly and courage- 
ously the menace of venereal disease. .. .Drastic 
measures must be taken to prevent during this per- 
iod (demobilization) those conditions in civil life 
which made these diseases the GREATEST CAUSE 
are certain ; First, it must be true, or the govern- 
ment would not have put out the statement; Second, 
it must have been alarmingly general, or the gov- 
ernment would not have gone to the expense and 
labor of sending out pamphlets asking ministers to 
preach sermons on the care of soldiers after their 

"Trench Salvation" 

The profanity and immorality already noticed 
are an evidence of the wide-spread disregard for God 
and His Word. The "trench salvation" often 
preached from pulpit and press and camp encour- 
aged this trend. According to this unscriptural doc- 
trine the giving up of one's life in the cause of hu- 
manity is an act so noble that God will extend to 
such an one His salvation independent of the kind 
of life that such an individual may have lived — this 
by men who were professedly set for the defence of 
the Gospel, and in the face of such plain declara- 
tions as, "No man cometh unto the Father except 
by me," "There is none other name under heaven 
given among men, whereby we must be saved," and 
"Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." 
Thus was the doctrine of salvation only by grace 
through faith, as well as the life of individuals, 
corrupted through the exigencies of war. 

At its best, war is cruel and inhuman, and is 


constantly becoming more so as the weapons are 
becoming more deadly and the whole is done with 
more iprecision. At one time it might jusitly have 
been called war, but today with the modern equip- 
ment, and the definite calculations it should no more 
be called war, but scientific butchery. 


Nonresistance the Only Issue 

National honor, safety for democracy, and a 
few things of lesser moment were usually given as 
the issues at stake in this war, and it should be 
clearly understood that the nonresistant people were 
not unmindful of these issues, buit there was another 
issue which they were made to face, and which 
vitally concerned them just at this time. Govern- 
ment was making demands without regard to class 
or religion. Nonresistant people wanted to comply 
with these requirements just as far as they could, 
but they were nonresistant. They held that the 
Bible taught them this. They must obey God at all 
hazards. This brought on an i-ssue between them 
and Government. 

It should also be clearly understood that the 
only issue that was between the Mennonites and 
Government as to the war had its root in the one 
word, nonresistance. That was the issue in the 
home community and in the camtp. The Church 
aimed to maintain this time-honored, Gospel-founded 
principle. It was deeply planted into the old and 
young. Peopk who did not hold to that doctrine 
could not understand this attitude, and be-lieved that 
these nonreststarits were slackers, cowards, proX^er- 
man, or to say the least, were not properly taught. 


The slogan of many in the home community and in 
the camp was, "Ureak his will/' little realizing that 
when one was tortured so that he would yield to 
what in his miind was opposed to a vital principle, 
that the injury was permanent. Many a younia,- 
rnan will be worth less to himself, to his country, 
and to the Church, both mentally and physically 
because he was compelled to pass through such dire 
experiences that he finally yielded. 

It was not a question of the Church giving up 
her young men, much as she loved them — no, not 
even if she knew that she would never see them 
again — if she could be conscious that she was giving 
them by divine approval. But she could not be- 
lieve that God would have her give them to take 
human life, either directly or indirectly, under any 
circumstances. She felt that war was wrong in 
principle and contrary to the teachings of tlie New 
Testament. With her it was absolutely, "God first." 
^fhe main issue with the Church was not boys, not 
money, not sacrifice, but obedience to God. 

Noncombatant Service Defined 

Evidently Government considered that there 
was quite a difference between combatant and non- 
combatant service, but the Church considered that 
the j)rinciplc involved was the same. No doubt 
Government supposed that most of the relignous ob- 
jectors would consent to noncombatant service, and 
til at at best the iK>litical objector would have to be 
dealt with individually. March 20, 1918, nearly one 
\ ear after this country had entered the war. Presi- 
c'ent Wilson officially defined noncombatant service. 
'Ihc text of his definition is as follo"ws : 


"I 'heT'ey d'eclare the followdng miHtary service to be 
noncom batant s e rvi c e : 

a. Ser^ke in the medical corps wherever performed. 
This includes service in the sanitary detachm-ent attached 
to com'batanrt: units at the front; s-ervice in the divisional 
sanitary trains composed of ambulance companies and field 
hospital comlpanjies, on the line of communication, at the 
base in France, and with the troops in the hospitals in 
the United States; also with the service of supply and 
repair in the Medical Department. 

"b. A-ny service in the Quartermaster Corps, in the 
United Staites, may be treated as noncombatant. Al'so in 
the rear <yi zone operations, service in the following: Stev- 
adore companies, labor companies, remount depots, vet- 
erinary hospitals, supply depots, bakery companies, the 
subsistence service, the clothing renovating service, the 
sho« repair •seT\nce, the transportation repair service, and 
motor truck tcompanies. 

*'c. Any engineering service in the United States may 
be treated as noncombatant service. Also in the rear of 
zone operations, service as follows: Railroad building, op- 
eration, and repair; road building and repair; construction 
of rear-line fortifications, auxiliary defense, et;c., construc- 
tion of docios, wharfs, storehouses, and of such canton- 
ments as -may be built by the Corps of Engineers; topo- 
graphical work; camouflage; map reproduction; supply de- 
pot service; repair service, hydraulic service and forestry 

Attitude toward Noncombatant Service 

It was very clear, even heiort noncombatant 
service was defined, that it could not be generally 
accepted. While it would not be carrying a gun, it 
would be directly connected with and under the 
military department, and that had for its purpose 
the taking of human life and the destruction of 
profperty and therefore coxM not be consistently 
accepted by nonresistants. Again, a careful scrutiny 
of much of this work suggests service back from the 
line of danger. This was spurned by many of the 
nonresistants since it would suggest thait they ac- 
cepted it because they were afraid of danger, and 


that was not true. With them it was not danger, 
or even life, but prtinciple. 

Human Reconstruction 

When it was found that this line of service did 
not meet the issue the War Department offered 
work in the reconstruction hospitals of the medical 
corps. Evidently this plan was expected to be sat- 
isfactory. The text reads : 

"It is found that there are certain men, evideii'tly sin- 
cere in 'theiir cubjections to accepitinig 'any existing form of 
noncombaitan't service, womld be willing to accep^t vvork in 
the aid of men wiho them'selves are not to 'be returned to 
military service. Men assigned to such work should be 
granted a certilicate limitirkg their 'service to 'this p-artic- 
uiar service of the mediioaJ ico'r,ps." 

This had many commendalble paints. It was 
not fitting men for war; it was hel^ping humanity 
and especially those in need, and it gave excellent 
opportunity to do relig'ious work. All these our 
brethren would have been glad to do, but from a 
nonresistant viewpoint there were too many ob- 
jectionable features. It required the wearing of the 
military uniform, was directly under the military 
establishment, and the work must be accepted vol- 
untarily. To willingly taike up any activity so 
vitally a part of the war was simply to endorse the 
whole miilitary affair — not by the service rendered, 
but by willingly becoming a part of the military 
Misrepresented Motives 

Some have made capital of the pvosition of the 
nonresistatits, charging that they would not work 
in the camps because they were lazy, stupid, dull, 
bovine, or because of a number of other reasons not 
very comjpVimentary ; that they would not buy lib- 


erty bonds nor war saving stamps, not donate to 
the Red Cross, Y. M. C A., etc., because they re- 
fused to part with their money. Thirs is so far 
from the trutli that it would be useless to try to 
refute it. Witnesses to the contrary can be pro- 
duced by the hundreds. The issue was not money, 
not wor'k, not mental incapacity, but the unscriptur- 
alness of war. 

A few did not take this position. A small per 
cent considered it a duty to buy bonds and donate 
to Government. Some of the young men thought 
that they owed it to their government and to their 
fellowmen to take some part, even though they 
could not kill. They applied for noncombatant 
service on arrival at camp. 

There were members who did not live up to 
the standard of nonresistance upheld by the Church. 
Here and there were those who thought it their 
duty to support such war measures as the purchase 
of liberty bonds, Avar stamps, etc., some of the draft- 
ees took, noncombatant service -willingly. 

On the other hand there were those who put 
rt more rigid construction u-pon the doctrine of non- 
resistance than the body of the Church was willing 
to do, even questioning the right of nonresistant 
people to register, and in camp absolutely refusing 
to do anything, even to keep their own quarters 
clean or to prepare their own food. 

Application of the Principle 

Some of the brotherhood made stringent appli- 
cations of the nonresistant doctrine, refusing to sell 
horses for war purposes or to sell their produce to 
parties who were known to buy expressly for the 


war. They refused to in any way support war meas- 
ures except in the payment of taxes, etc. Some of 
the youngs men in the camps refused to do anything, 
even to keep their own quarters clean or prepare 
their own food. (The latter were principally from 
one of the smaller branches of the Mennonite 

All along the line 'between these two extremes 
the greater body of the Church was to be found. 
Some with very little persuasion were ready to do- 
nate to war charities or purchase interest-bearing 
\v3.r papers; others yielded only at the threat of vio- 
lence, while the great majority stood for the prin- 
ciple of doang nothing which would have for its 
prime purpose the helping along of the war and suf- 
fered rather than yield to what they believed to be 
wrong. All believed in the main issue — nonresist- 
ance — but in minor details they did not all maicc the 
same application of that issue to the conditions at 

More will be given concerning the attitude of 
the brotherhood with its results in later chapters of 
this book. 



Meeting at Kitchener 

Since Canada was in the war for some time be- 
fore the United States was, it fell to our Canadian 
brethren to bear the burden of the conflict the long- 
est. Meetings were called for prayer and consecra- 
tion. One not soon to be forgotten was called at 
Kitchener, Ont., for prayer to know what to do. 
While on the way to the dhurch a letter was re- 
ceived from Government which granted some con- 
cessions and the meeting was changed to a praise 
service. The brotherhood dn the United States 
prayed nruch in behalf of our brethren in Canada, 
at the same time praying earnestly that the awful 
carnage in the East might be made to cease. An- 
other subject of earnest prayer was that this coun- 
try may nort be drawn into the war. We were vitally 
concerned from the beginning, but doubly so after 
the President had declared that a state of war ex- 
isted between this country and Germany. 

From the beginning of the war, district con- 
ferences nearly all gave some expression on the ques- 
tion of nonresistance and militarism, reaffirming 
their position and some of them sending letters to 
the Presi<le«t setting forth the tenets of the Church 


on these 'points of doctrine, but naturally the broth- 
erhood looked to the General Conference for a 

General Conference of 1915 

The Mennonrite General Conference met near 
Archbold, Ohio, August 18-20, 1915. One of the 
questions which came before that body was, "Will 
this Conference state the position which the Men- 
nonite Church holds with reference to carnal war- 
fare?" The folloAving answer was adopted: 

"We believe that in the ligrht of the life and teaching 
of Chrisrt; and tbe apos-tles, no Christian should engag-e in 
carnal warfare -under any circiim stances nor for any cause. 
Matt. 26:51, 52; John 18:36; Rom. 12:17-21; II Cor, 
10:4. Our testimony should be for peiace ajid our life 
should correspond nnth our testimony, II Tim. 2r24. 
This wa-s the position of the Church in Refformation time* 
as seen in Article XIV of our Confession of Fauth adopted 
in i6j-2; in the Civil War (1861-65); and at other times 
when the tdal of our faith meant persecution and death. 

"When our governonent becomes in\x)ilved in war we 
should pray for our rulers (I Tim. 2:1, 2); have a 

meek, quiet and submissive attitude toward our <?o\'ern- 
ment (Rom. 13:7); rdHeviing suffering whenever and wher- 
ever opportunity affords (Gal, 6:10); but under ao cir- 
ciimstances should we enlist as soldiers and fiegiht, clioosing 
rather to suffer affliction and persecution than to inflict 
violence upon others, 

"Brethren drafted for military service sihould state 
their position on ncmresistanice meekly but unhesiitatinigiy, 
i^et re^i-cved if that is possible, but if forced by violence 
into the army, should suffer themselves to be imprisoned 
or court -ma rtial-ed rather than do anythin^g w^ich could 
in any way result in the loss of life at their hands. As 
a Church we sihould disown aill members who bear arms 
as soldiers as that term is commonly undeirstood, but at 
the same time we should sitand by ail of our brethren in 
trouble (Gal. 6:2, 10) and lend assistance to all breth- 
ren who soiffer 'because of conscription laws. Our position 
should be plain to our governments and out (Srayers 
should ascend for peace. 


Letter to President Wilson and Premier Gordon 

A letter was drawn up to send to President Wil- 
son, and one to be sent to the Governor General 
of Canada. These letters were the same except as 
the circumstances required a change in the wording 
suitable to the conditions. The one to President 
Wilson is given here and from it the other one can 
easily be imagined. 
"To the President of the United States: 

"Inas^nuch as these are days of stress and trial owing 
to the conditions of war existing amon^ the leading na- 
tions of the world and the threatening conditions which 
seem to imperil the peace and safety of stUl other nations, 
and since the existing conditions invoilve the sparitual and 
moral Irfe as weU as the material -welfare oi the citizens 
of these nations, and especially those whose religious con- 
victions are opposed to the use of carnal weapons, and 
engaging in carnal warfare, and who hoM that the teach- 
ings and exampHe of Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace 
should be followed in loving one's enenxies and doing 
good to aU men, in returning good for evil and suffering 
wrong rather than doing wrong, which principles and prac- 
tices are dear to many Christian people, and especially to 
the Mennonite Church, 

"Therefore, we the Mennonite General Conference, rep- 
resenting congregations in the United States, Canada, and 
India, assembled at Anchbold. Ohio, August 18-20, 1915, 
reaffirm our position on carnal warfare, and believe it to 
be the Christian duty of our people to refrain from taking 
up arms. 

"We hereby express our appreciation o-f the religions 
privileges hitherto enjo>'ed by our people in the United 
States during the previous occasions of war. We desire to 
commend the President in his efforts to secure and main- 
tain peaceable reflations with Europe and Mexico. 

"We also desire to express the loj-alty of our people 
residing in the United States in the support of the nation 
in every Christian duty in the practice of peaceable voca- 
tions, respecting authority and praying for divine guidance 
of those who rule over them, praying also that God may 
preserve the nation from war and continue her beneficence 
to her people." 

It will not be practical, for want of space, to 

give all the decisions of the district conferences on 


nonresistance and war. One will be given which 
is quite rerpresentative of a numiber of others: 

The Ohio Conference 

The Ohio District Conference held near Lima, 
Ohio, May 23 and 24, 1917, discussed the question : 
''Since the conscription bill has been passed, what 
iidvice has this conference to give to the young 
men of the Church?" After some discussion the 
following was passed : 

"Whereas, our nation has become involved in 'the p-res- 
ent conflict of nadions which necessarily adds tiiateriallly to 
the already greart: responsibility of our chief maigristrate. 
the President, and, 

"Whereas, some of the basic pninciples odt the Metino- 
nite Church are vitally' affected on points reteted to non- 
resastance a« set forth in the Confession of Ftaith (For 
text, see 'M^nnonites on Military Service' later in this 
chapter.) adopted at Dortrecht, Hollland, in 1632, antl later 
ratified in France, and c^-er since existing in ou-r creed, 

"Whereas, our forefathers suffered persectjtion in Eu- 
rope because of these prin^ciples, and came to this coun- 
try, leaving 'home and native land in order to ob^taiii the 
blessing- of lilberty of conscience which had been promised 
them here, We, the Ohio Mennonite Chttrch Conference 
in session at tfhe Salem Church near Lima, Ohio, May 
23, 24, 1917, resolved to submit the following to our breth- 
ren on the conscription bill: 

"i. We a«k all our brethren siiibjeot to tSbe draft to 
register as provided for in the conscription biH and pro- 
claimed by the President. 

"2. That the above mentioned brethren ixrocare from 
the bishops and minisiters a certificate of membership as 
provided by this conference to present when neceasary to 
the proper atrtliorities. 

"3. That they inform themselves upon the leading 
principles relatirvg to the existing Mennonite oreed that 
forbids war and to be able to give a good reason for the 
hope that (is wrtkin them: 'Love your enemies' (hCatt. 5:44)- 
'Do good to them that hate you,' (Luke 6:27); *Pray for 
them that desprtefully use you,' (Luke 6:28); 'H my king- 
dom were of this world then would my servants fight.' 
(John 18:36); The weapons of our warfare arc rroit carnal, 
but m.ig:hty through God' (11 Cor. 10:4). 


"4. That they answer all questions fairly and hon- 
estly, and manifest a sincere, su'bmissive, law-abiding dis- 
position as is beoomin/g- to a quiet, peaceable faithfui fol- 
lower of Chnis.t. 

'■5. That they respect our national emblem in accord- 
ance with otrr faith and practice, and that they avoid any 
display which might 'be interpreted as favoring militarism. 

"6. That they bear in mind that they are subject to 
the higher powers and to obey magistrates and unco<m- 
plainjingly submit themselves to every good work for the 
Lord's sake so long as it is not in violation to the funda- 
inentafl teaduags of Christ as interpreted by the Mennonite 

"7. To sJhow their appreciation fofr the degree of im- 
munity which we have enjoyed hitherto and for the prom- 
ise of future exemption, that our opposition to war is not 
founded Upon disloyalty to our government, but upon the 
conviction thO/t the Gospel of Christ is the Gospel of 
peace, ajid ever pray for our rulers that we may lead a 
quiet axMi peaceable life in alil godliness and honesty. I 
Tim. 2:1,2." 

Meeting at Clinton Frame Church 

Conscription had become a law, registration day 
was past, each registrant had been given a num- 
ber, and the order in which they were to appear for 
examination had been determdned. Church leaders 
were intensely interested in doing all that they 
possibly could for the young brethren. Late Sat- 
urday night, July 21, 1917, the executive committee 
of the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference de- 
cided to hoW a meeting at the Clinton Frame 
Church, near Goshen, Indiana, to which all the 
brethren in the draft and their ministers should be 
invited. The time was short and conditions were 
very uncertain, so it was decided that it should be 
as soon as all could be informed and those farthest 
away could get to the place. It was decided that 
if all acted at once the meeting couJd be held Tties- 
dav afternoon at one o'clock. Word was sent all 


over the conference district that night. Other 
branches of the Mennonites were also informed. 

At the time appointed the ministry gathered in 
the basement for consultation and prayer. Com- 
plete harmony prevailed on the point in question 
although there were six branches of Mennonites 
present. The brotherhood had gathered in the room 
above and were aJso engaged in prayer and sup- 
plication. At two o'clock the ministry also resorted 
to this room and to their surprise found it crowded 
to the doors with men. 

After another season of prayer the draft laws 
were explained and a number of questions were 
asked and answered as best any one in the audience 
knew. Our brethren in the draft were the most 
vitally affected, and it was thought that they should 
have an opportunity to express themselves as to 
their attitude and requests. A number responded, 
and the general thought was, come what will, they 
wanted to be true to God and the Church, and 
as'ked for the prayers of the brotherhood, especi- 
ally in their trying hours. It was a meeting long to 
be remembered, and one that showed how closely 
we were knit together when trials were in sight, 
also that the whole Church was ready to suffer 
with the young brethren. 

General Conference of 1917 

As the time approached for the next meeting of 
the Mennonrte General Conference, the executive 
committee of that body saw the importance of hav- 
ing the position of the Church on militarism set 
forth in a well prepared statement, and appointed a 
committee giving them the privilege of calling in as 


many more as they desired. They wrestled with 
the proposition for several days, and on the after- 
noon of the firs-t day of Conference presented the 
following which was unanimously adopted : 


A Statement of Our Position on Military Service as 

Adopted by The Mennonite General Conference, 

August 29, 191 7 

Inasmuch as present war condiitions call for an official 
utterance from our Church, we, the bishops, ministers, 
deacons and delegates o.f the Mennonite Church in General 
Conference assembled at the Yellow Creek Church, near 
Goshen, Indiana, Aug. 29, 1917, representing sixteen con- 
ferences in the United States, Canada, and India, desire 
to present the 'foilowing as an expression on the doctrine 
of nonresistance as applied to present conditions brought 
on by the World War now raging. 

Our Position Defined 

As folflowers of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Prince of 
Peace, we interpret His command, "Resist not evil," by 
His ortlier teachings on this subject; viz., "Love your ene- 
mies." "Do good to them that haite you." "Pray for 
them which de&pitefuHy use you and persecute you." 
"My ikingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were 
of this world, then %vouJd my servants fight." "All they 
that take the sword «hall perish with the sword." The 
Bible aVso teaches us not to avenge ourselves (Rom. 12: 
17-21), that "the wea/pons of our warfare are not carnal" 
(II Coa". 10:4), and that "the servant of the Lord must not 
strive" (II Tim. 2:24). Believing that the children of God 
ghooiJd imbibe and practice these teachings, we hold that 
Christian people should have no part in carnal warfare of 
any kind or for any cause. Our attitude on the question 
of miHtary service is correctly stated in that cilause of the 
Selective Draft Law enacted May 18, 1917, which provides 
•for exeimption for members of every church "whose ex- 
istin»g creed or principles forbid its members to particip^ate 
in war in any form and whose religious convictions are 
against war or participation therein." We deeply regret, 
however, that this exejnption is praictically nullified (save 
in the nwrtter of bearing arms) in the further provision 


empoweriiiof the g-overniment to impress -nonresistant ^to- 
ple into noncomibaitant service. 

In our Confession of Faith, adopted at Dortrecht. Hol- 
land, in 1632, ithe position of our cho-inch is defined as 

"Regarding revemge, whereby wc resist our rii- 
emies by the sword, we believe and confess, that 
the Lord Jesus has forbidden His disci-pfles and fol- 
lowers all revenge and resistance, and has thereby 
commanded them not to 'rc<turn evi'l for evil, nor 
■railing for railing;' but to 'put up the sword into 
the sheath,' or. as the prophets foretold, 'beat them 
into plowshares.' Matt. 5:30,44; Rom. 12:14; 1 
Pet. 3:9; Micah 4:3. 

"From this we see, that, according to the ex- 
amrple. life, and doctrine of Christ, we are not to 
do wrou'g. or cause offense or vexation to amy one; 
but to seek the weHarc and salvation of all men; 
also, if necess'ity should require it, to flee, for the 
Lord's sak-e, from one city to another, and suffer 
the 'spoiling of our goods,' rather than g^ve of- 
fense to amy one; and if we are struck on our 
'right cheek, rather to turn the other aJso' than 
to revenge ourselves or return the blow. Matt. 5: 
30, 10:23; Rom. 12:19.. 

"And that w^e are, besides this, also to pray 
for our enemies, comfort and feed them, when they 
are hungry and thirsty, and thus 'by weill doing 
convince them and overcome the evil good. 
Rom. 12:20, 21. 

"Finailly, that w^e are to do good m all re- 
spects, 'commending ourselves to every man's con- 
.science in the sight of God.' and according to the 
law of Christ, do nothing to others that we would 
not wish them to do unto us. — IT Cor. 4:2: Matt. 
7:12; Luke 6:31." — Article 14, Page 25. 
This position has 'been uniformly held by cwir fore- 
fathers from Reformation times and their loyalty and de- 
votion to their faith is attested by their suflFering, even to 
the extent of martyrdom and banishment by those govern- 
ments enjoining military service upon their citizens, and 
for which cause they gratefully accepted the hospitality 
and the guarantee of religious liberty of this land, histor- 
ical records bearing ample witness to these facts. 

In relation to governments we believe that every child 
of God. besides being a citizen of the Heavenly Kingdom 
(John i8:.^6; Phil. 3:20), .should also be in su-bjection to 
civil governments (Rom. 13:1-5: Tit. 3:1; I, Pert. 2:13-17). 
Even laws which may seem unwise and tm}ust should be 


submitted to urrcomplainingly and no thought should be 
entertaiined of doing anything but compQy with all that 
they ask oi us — aiuless they prescri'be conditions contrary 
to the Gospel; in which case we should meekly but faith- 
fully stand true to the primciples of the Gospel, even if the 
consequences entaiil sufferin'g. This position has 'been ex- 
emplified by the a-postles (Acts 5:29) and our early church 

Past Favors Acknowledged 

It is wi/th grateful hearts that we recoiint the favors 
and considerations accorded our people in the past. In 
the days of William Penn our fathers accepted his invita- 
tion to immigrarte to this land where they might enjoy 
ihc freedom of conscience in religion and exemption from 
military service. These benefits were later confirmed to 
them by the Constitution of the United States and by 
State Constitutions. We rejoice that freedom of con- 
science is thus recognized by the laws of our land. We 
appreciate the exemption accorded our brethren, both in 
the North ajid in the South, during the Civil War, when 
once their position with reference to war became fully 
known. We still have among us brethren who suffered 
for conscience' sake during that period, but recall with 
much gratitude the freedom from military service which 
that exemption secured for them. 

We are grateful for the exemption clause for non- 
resistant people in the new Selective Draft Law, and here- 
by express the hope that when the powers that be fully 
understand out position with reference to military serA-ice, 
this clause referring to noncombatant service ma}^ be ac- 
cordingly modified. 

Our Standard 

We acJcnow^ledge with deep humiliation that not all of 
our people have lived in full conformity with the Gospel 
standard or conS'istent with our profession of a holy life. 
Some, contrary to the teachings of the Chnrch, have been 
entangled m politics, in commercialism, in pleasure-seek- 
ing, and in other forms of worldliness; but it should be 
borne in mind that such conduct has been without regard 
to the express wish and teaching of the Church. The 
Mcnnoni/te ChuTch having continually stood for the sur- 
rendered life, a consistent separation from the world, and 
an attitude of peace toward all men, we caJl upon our peo- 
ple to bear in mind our obligations (Eph. 4:1) that in 
all places fhey may be known by the Scriptural designa- 
tion — "A peculiar people, zealous of good works." 

The Present Issue 

Recogniriag with gratefulness the consideration gaven 


our rfelii'gious convictions, as previously statted. we take this 
opportunity of giving- expression of our a-ttitude concerning, 
the issue as it now confronts us. As a Christian people 
we have always endeavored to support the governmerLt im- 
der which we liived in every capacity consistent with the 
teaching oi the Gospel as we understand it, ajid will con- 
tinue to do so; but according to this teaching we cannot 
I>articipa>te in war in any form; that is, to aid or abet 
war, whether in a combatant or non -combatant capacity. 
We are conscious of whait this attitude, under existing 
circums'tances, may mean. No one who really understands 
our position w'i.ll accuse us of either disloya'lty or coward- 
ice; for our record has proven our submiis»iveness to the 
powers that be, and to maintain our position under pres- 
ent conditions requires greater courage than to aocept non- 
combatajnt serviice. But believing as we do, that any 
form of service under the military arm of the government 
means 'respon^i'bility, either directly or indirectly, for the 
taking of huiman life and other des'tructive acts of war, 
we cannot cons-istently do otherwise than hold aloo-f from 
every form of military service. Our people have at all 
times refrained from voluntary enlistment for service in 
any form under previous mlilitary 'laws, and for us now 
to accept service under the mi'litary arm of the govern- 
ment, would be equivalent to a denial of the faith and 
principles which we have held as \^tal to our spiritual 
well-being and eternal salvation. 

We appeal to the President of the United States and 
all others in authority to bear with us in this attitude 
and not to construe our position as a lack of appreciation 
for past favors or as an act of disloyalty; also to grant 
unto us full liberty of conscience and the free exercise 
of our faith. 


1. To the Brotherhood. — We recommend that in hu- 
mility we seek at the throne of grace the blessings which 
others have sought to secure through the power of the 
sword. That we continue our prayers in behalf of the 
rulers of our land and ail others in authority, continue to 
pray for the peace of nations; that we maintarin a calmness 
of mind and heart that naturally accompanies a trust in 
God; that we refrain from uncharitable criticism in any 
form, and avx>id heated controversy with those who do not 
agree with us on points of doctrine, tnissing no opportun- 
ity of complying with the Scriptural injunction of return- 
ing good for evil. 

2. To Our Brethren Liable for Military Service, — We 
recommend that they comply wiifth e\'ery requirement of 
the igovernment, availing thenis<?lves of every opi>ortunity 


to present their claims for exemption, exercising care 
that they do not commit any acts 'that couild be rightfully 
interpreted as desertion or treason — and at the time when 
they receive the sumimons to enter the military service, 
they present themselves to the authorities and meekly in- 
form them that under no circumstances can they consent 
to service, either combatant or non-combatant, under the 
military arm of the government, citing them to the fact 
that they are members of a church whose creed and prin- 
ciples forbid them to have part in war in any form, and 
that their consciences coincide with this position; submit- 
ting to any penalty the government may see fit to inflict, 
trusting the Lx>rd for guidance and protection. 

3. To Our Conferences and Congregations. — We rec- 
ommend that they make every proviision for the wellbeing 
of our_ brethren who may 'be called upon to suffer on ac- 
count of their faith as a result of this trying s>ituation. 
While we expect an attitude of submission and loyalty on 
the part of out members, we should not deal harshly, but 
charitably and with consideration, with our brethren who 
may be put to the tes-t In these days of trial. 

With a 'fervent prayer to Almighty Go-d that He may 
bless and so direct the rulers of our land that we may 
lead a quiet and peaceable life, an the full exercise of our 
religious convictions; that we, as His children, may be 
faithful to and contend earnestly for the faith once de- 
livered to the saints; that God in His wise providence may 
overrule all to the g^lory of His name and the strength- 
ening of His cause among men, we humbly subscribe our 
names to these declarations and pledge our powers in de- 
votion to the principles herein set forth. 

The conference decided to send a committee of 
three brethren to Washington, D. C, to discuss the 
situation with the authorities there, and carry to 
them the document which had just been passed, and 
later to present their findings to the Church. Aaron 
Loucks, S. G. Shetler and D. D. Miller were chosen 
for this important work. 

It had been suggested that those in the draft 
should be given an opportunity to express them- 
selves to Conference. Immediately after the noon 
intermission of the second day the moderator asked 
all the brethren in the draft age to discuss the mat- 


ter among- themselves and decide whether tUey 
wanted to have any statement made to Conference 
in their behalf, and if so, to a'ppoint a s^pokesman. 
They did so, and alpp'ointed E. F. Hartzler of Mar- 
shallville, Oliio. At an opportune tim»e they came 
into the tent in a body and their representative said 
in part : 

"We heartily thank the conference for the interest that 
it is taking- in us, and especially for the privilege of ex- 
pressiing our wishes before this body. We thank yxMi for 
the prayers rthal a/re being offered in our t>ehalf and for 
the dcKCumient that was drawn np and parsed yesterday. 
Many in our meeting expressed themselves that by God's 
help they wanted to stand 'by the thoughts presented it* 
the Tesolution, and they hoped that w^hen the trydng' hour 
came the prayers o^ the whole brotherhood wcwid ascend. 
in (their behaH, and that God would give them grace to- 
stand. Not a word of resentment was •spoken by any- 
one, 'but the wish wias expressed that the Gos«peI of Jesus 
Christ mig-ht be lived out whether in the presence of 
officuals or any other class of people with whom we 
would come in contact. We thank you a-gain for your 
interest and pray Ood to bless you and uis." 

Committee Sent to Washington 

These were hours of suspense. The committee 
appointed to go to Washington proceeded on their 
journey diredt from the conference, and on Saturday 
morning, in company with two other committees, 
one from the Old Order Amiish Mennonites and one 
from the Franconia Mennonite Conference (who had 
previously arranged a meeting with Secretary New- 
ton D. Baker) came before the Secretary of War on 
the same day. The Secretary received them cor- 
dially and went over the situation with them very 
frankly. On the whole the meeting was very satis- 
factory. The committee sent day messages direct 
from Washington to the various sections informdn^ 
the brotherhood of the favorable reception and ask- 


ing them to look for a night letter on Sunday morn- 
ing-. In addition to these, letters were sent out by 
mail giving more ddtails. Here is a copy of the let- 

"Wasbmgton, D. C, September i, 191 7- Dear Broth- 
er: — In an interview with Secretary Baker, who received 
us kindly, we received the 'following information and in- 
struct ro as-: 

"i. That none of our brethren need to serve in any 
capacity which violates their creed and conscience. 

"2. When they are called they should report at the 
place designated on their notice. 

"3, From the place designated on their notice they 
should go with others who are drafted and called to train- 
ing camps. 

"4. Report to army officer the church to which they 
belong, and their belief in its creed and principles. 

"5. This nonresistant position wi'H place them iT» 
detention camps where they will be properly fed and 
cared ior. 

"6. In these camps they will not be uniformed nor 

"7. A list of service considered noncombatant will 
•be offered, hurt: they need no>t accept any in violation to 
their conscience. 

"8. Those who can not accept any service, either 
combatant or non-combatant, will be assigned to some 
other service, not under the military arm of government. 

"9. Our ministers will be aJilow-ed to visit the breth- 
ren in [these camps and keep in touch with them. 

"10. Our ministers will be privileged to give this in- 
forma^tfton and advice to our brethren in private or in pub- 
ilic meetinigs. 

"As a committee appointed by General Conference, 
assemlb^ed at Yellow Creek Church near Goshen, Indiana, 
Augusit 39, 1917, in consultation with a committee ap- 
pointed by (the Franconia Conference, and a committee of 
Old Order Amish brethren, we are unanimously agreed to 
a d V i s e the fo llo w i ng : 

"1. Since our interview with the war department we 
advise ottr brethren to state their position on the Church, 
creed, a^nd principles to army officers at mobilization camps. 

"2. We again encourage our brethren not to accept 
any service, either combatant or noncombatant, under the 
military arm of government in violation of their con- 
science and' the creed or principles of the Ch^irch. 

"Wlhijfe our brethren will not be freed entirely, yet 


freed from servinig under the military arm of Government, 
we should be very grateful for 'the 'consideration that the 
authorities have shown us. May our churches everywhere 
'Continue ito send prayers to the Throne of Grace dn be- 
half of our young brethren lin this trying hour and for 
'those in aiiithority so ''that we may lead a quiet and peace- 
able life." 

"Your brethren, Aaron Loucks, S. G. Shetler, D. D. 
Miller, General Conference Committee." 

The letter as published aroused great interest 
on the part of nonresistant people, members of other 
churches as well as Alennomites. L W. Taylor and 
W. J. Sweiigert, members of the Church of the Breth- 
ren, desiring confirmation of the information sent 
out by the General Conference committee, arranged 
with Congressman Greist of Lancaster Co., Pa., to 
have an interview with Secretary Baker and from 
him received the following note under date of Sept. 
16, 1917: "Mr. Baker confirmed in his interview 
with these gentlemen all the 10 points except the 
8th." Immediately the point in question was re- 
stated. As corrected it read : ''Those who can not 
accept any service under the military arm of the 
government will be held in detention camps to a- 
waiit such disposiition as the government may decide 
upon." A corrected copy of the above letter was 
sent to Secretary Baker and the following answer 
was received : 

"War Department, Washimgton, D. C, Sept. 14, 1917 
"My Dear Mr. Loucks: 

'The Secretary of War asks me to thank you for 
your kindness in sending him a copy of the oorre-cted 
form of statement regarding the interview referred to 
which 'is entirely satisfactory to him. 

'*F. P. Kep<pel." 

The purpose of these special meetings was to 
^ivc specific instructions as to what the decisions 
of the war department were, and what might be 


expected by those who remained at home as well 
as those who would be called to camp. One of the 
leading- things emphasized in the meetings was that 
great care should be exercised to give as little of- 
fense as possible, either to individuals or to Gov- 
ernments ; that all official commands should be o- 
beyed so long as they were not in opposition to the 
principles of the Gospel, but that at all hazards the 
brotherhood should give full allegiance to the teach- 
ings of Christ and His apostles. It would not have 
been possible nor advisable to try to work out de- 
tails in these meetings as they would come to each 
individual. Many wished for even more specific 
directions, but those who followed closely the in- 
structions which were given found them a great 
help when the trying hour came. 


Difference between U. S. and Canada 

Conditions were quite different in the United 
States and Canada so far as the war was concerned. 
The latter, being a part of the British Empire, was 
in the struggle from the beginning. Laws in the 
two countries were not very dift'erent so far as non- 
resistants in general were concerned, but peculiar to 
say, they made a difference between Mennonites 
and others who upheld that doctrine. Because of 
these things it will be necessary to refer to our 
brethren in Canada separately. So far as this doc- 
trine is concerned, the Church in the two countries 
might as well have been 'considered together. 

Exemption Laws 

The first laws exempting Mennonites and oth- 
ers from military service were m'ade more than a 
quarter of a century after our people had settled in 
Canada. The first such law, 1808, under King- 
George III, mentioned Quakers, Mennonites, and 
Tunkers as exempt from military duties and service 
in time of peace or war, but required the payment 
of certain sums of money in lieu of such service. 
At that time there were settlements of Mennonites 
in Lincoln and Waterloo counties in Upper Canada, 
now Ontario. This law continued with a number of 


amendments until 1855, when Quakers, Mennoniites 
and Tun'kers, or members of any denomination 
-w^hose refligion were adverse to bearing arms, were 
allowed exemption from military service in times of 
peace or war, without the payment of money. This 
law continued in force until the passing of the Mil- 
itary Service Act, 1917. It is commonly thought 
by people outside of Canada that the law of 1868 
was passed in order to get the Russian Mennonites 
to move to Canada, but it existed several years be- 
fore the Canadian Government knew of the unrest 
among the Mennonites in Russia. The Order-in- 
Council providing for Russians was made in 1873. 
H. H. Ewert says, "It should be noted that the ex- 
emption of Mennonites, Quakers, and others from 
military duty does not rest upon, nor date from, an 
Order-in-Council adopted in 1873, (This is the date 
•of making- final plans with the Mennonites in Rus- 
sia) but upon a statute of law passed in 1868, which 
is not a measure of a special inducement to irrtend- 
ing settlers, passed for the occasion, but a statement 
of policy and principle." S. F. Coffman writes, 
""The law of 1868 is cited in the Order-in-Council in 
1873." These three laws were not war measures, 
but were made in times of peace. 

^Russian Immigration 

When the Russian government refused to sup- 
'port th-e promise of their former Czarina, Catharine 
II, giving the Mennonites exemption from military 
service they sent a committee to America to exam- 
ine the laws of Canada and the United States. The 
committee of the Privy Council of Canada, after 
examining into the matter and relporting that the 


Act of 1868 especi'ally named the Mennonites as 
having exemption from all military service, also 
recommended that the fullest consideration be given 
to the Russian Mennoni'tes. The Canadian govern- 
ment, by Order-in-Coumcil passed July 23, 1873, ex- 
tended to the Russian brethren conditions Avhich 
were very satisfactory. The follov^^ing is a part of 
the Order : 

"An entire exemption from m'iHitaTy service is by law 
and Oirder-in-Coiincil granted to the denoimination of 
Christians called Mennonites. The fullesit ip.rivi'lege of ex- 
ercising their religious principles is hereby afforded to the 
Mennoni'tes without any kind of molesitation or restriction 

Benefits to other Mennonites 

While this Order was passed primarily for the 
benefit of the Russian Mennonites w'ho, on the 
.-trength of the Order, moved to Western Canada, 
the same favor was accorded to Mennonites in all 
jjarts of the Dominion because of the Order and be- 
cause of the statutory provisions of 1868 which were 
repeated in the statutes of 1886, and reasserted in 
the revisions of 1906. No distinctions were made 
between Russians and other classes of nonresistant 
people until the war broke out and the Military 
Service Act of 1917 was passed. In the Act provi- 
sions were made for certain classes who were not 
to be called into service and who would be in no 
way amendable to the act. Among those wxre cer- 
tain religious orders, ministers of the Gospel, Gov- 
ernment officials and those persons who came under 
the special treaties of 1873 (the Russian Menno- 
nites) and of 1898 ('the Doukobors from Russia). 

Difference, East and West 

After the passing of the act of 1917 there was 


a difference made by the officials between Menno- 
nites of the East and West. All of those living west 
of Ontario were considered as under the Exceptions 
of the Act, and were not to be called for service, 
were not required to register or claim exemption on 
any grounds. Those Mennonites, Quakers, and Tun- 
kers who had previously enjoyed total exemption 
from military service who were living in Ontario 
vvcre considered amendable to the Act and were re- 
quired to register and claim exemption. The breth- 
ren in the West were notified to do so also and this 
led to some complications with the officials of the 
West which were later adjusted. 

Wihere it was the desire of the officials to stand 
by the conditions of the Order-in-Council of 1873, 
the Russian Mennonites in the West were not mo- 
lested, but this was not the case everywhere. In 
some places they were required to register and claim 
exemption. Many complicated forms and various 
affidavits and declarations were used to prove their 
church membership, j)arentage, etc. Their ministers 
were obliged to fill out affidavits concerning the 
faith of the Church and their own standing with it. 
Some of the officials seemed to have a determination 
to overthrow the grounds of their claims for ex- 
emption and compel the Russian Mennonites to take 
military service. However, the government at Ot- 
tawa constancy asserted their purpose to stand by 
the conditions of the treaty, and to regard the Or- 
der-in-Council as a sacred obligation, with the result 
that none of the brethren were obliged to enter the 
service. Some few were forced into the military 
units, but when their cases were aippealed to the 
higher authorities they were excused. 


Noncombatant Service Expected 

The ground for and the extent of exemption 
that could be expected is shown in the following 
which is a part of the Act of 1917: 

"That he consicientiouisly objects to the undertakinig 
of icombiatant service and is iprohibited fro.m so doing by 
the itenets and artioles of faith, im effect on the 6fth day 
of July, 1917, of any organied religious den<omination ex- 
isting and wel'l organized in Canada ait such date, and to 
which be in ;good faith belongs. A certiii'cate (of exemp- 
tion) 'may be conditional as to time oir otherwise, and, if 
granted solely on conscientious igrounds, shall state that 
such exemption is from com,batant service only." 

Provision was made in the application to insert 
the name of the denomination to which the appli- 
cant belonged. Mennonites and Tunkers signing 
fhis declaration, would compromise the faith of 
their 'churches which for<bids all military service — 
not combatant service only — and many qualified 
their statement by writing in, "Which forbids all 
military service." The Act did not properly de- 
scribe the faith of purely nonresistant people save 
in the conditions under which the Russian Menno- 
nites were ''excepted" from the Act, for they were 
averse to all forms of warfare and their faith was 
thus recognized and honored by granting them per- 
petual freedom from all military service. The Men- 
nonites in the East were in perfect agreement with 
their Russian brethren on this point, and realizing 
that those in the West had complete exemption, 
those in the East appealed to the government at Ot- 
tawa for complete exemption from any service in 
furthering the war. 

Church Letters 

While registering, those who desired to claim 


caEcmption were required to present certificate of 
Oiiirch mem'bership. The certificates of the Rus- 
sians stated that they were sons of Mennonite par- 
ents, and that they were under the provision of the 
exceptions of the Act, according to the Order-in- 
CoHncil of 1873. The certificates of others stated 

th^Lt they were members of Church since 

(cl:ite), and that the doctrines of the Church forbids 
all military service. Those who united with the 
Chnrch after the date mentioned in the Act were at 
first refused exemption of any kind, but it was later 
ainranged that those who as sons of Mennonite or 
Tranker parents who had in good faith united with 
tbe Church at a later date were exempted with the 

Norman B. Stauffer 

Mennonites in the \\>st came in touch with 
the district registrars at Calgary and Regina. Nor- 
Mnan B. Staufifer, a Mennonite bishop, was so located 
a«; to make it necessary for him to pass through 
Calgary very frequently, and in so doing, usually 
called on the district registrar. He had frequent 
occasions to sign papers for the young men who 
had appealed their claims for exemption and thus 
became well acquainted with those whose duty it 
was to determine who in that section of Canada 
«^h»tHi'1d or should not be excused from military serv- 
ice. While it was not the purpose of Government to 
oblige the Mennonites in the West to register or 
serve in the militia, those who did register accord- 
firag to instructions received from officials, and who 
claimed exemption on religious grounds, were re- 
ffflsed exemption by local boards, when they ap- 


pealed to the district boards. Although some of 
these brethren had been obliged to take the medical 
examination and were called to report for service^ 
after making several trips to Calgary, Bto. Stauffer 
succeeded in having all of them released. 

While Canada had not inaugurated the "Work 
or fight" plan, as was done in the United States, 
they especially urged that since their sons were ex- 
empt, Mennonites should do all that they could to 
produce food, and this resulted in a large acreage 
in wheat and other food products. On the whole 
the Mennonites in the West fared very well, and 
were grateful to God and the officials for the rec- 
ognition given to their religious convictions. 

An Interpretation Wanted 

As previously stated, there seemed to be more 
uncertainty among the officials as to the exact status 
of the Ontario Mennonites. They wanted to be 
true to the previous promise, and at the same time 
desired to carry out the requirements of the Military 
Service Act, as previously given. The body of the 
nonresistant churches stood for no service under the 
military establishment. The act provided for ex- 
emptions, but when made on religious grounds, ex- 
empted from combatant service only. These were 
days of anxiety. A committee was appointed by 
the Mennonite Conference, and by other Mennonite, 
Amish, and Tunker bodies to act jointly in looking 
into these matters. They were united in their views 
that all military service was inconsistent with non- 
resistance and they acted accordingly. A letter was 
sent to the department of justice at Ottawa, asking 
for an interpretation of the act as it affected the 


jTvIennonites. Reports had been circulated that the 
Ontario Mennonites would not be exempt. A meet- 
ing of representatives from the ^lennonite and Am- 
ish Churches in the district was called at Kitchener, 
Ont., for prayer for help and direction from God in 
this time of extreme need. An answer to the letter 
from the department of justice was received just 
before the meeting, stating that the matter had been 
brought before the Council of Militia and that it 
had been decided that the Mennonites were under 
the "Exceptions of the Act," and had no duty to 
perform whatsoever. The meeting for prayer was 
changed to a meeting of praise. 

Local and District Tribunals 

The act required that all persons (excluding ex- 
cepted classes) should register, and either register 
for service or make claim for exemption from serv- 
ice. This led to complications with local tribunals 
appointed to pass on applications, since the depart- 
ment of justice had stated that our people were un- 
der the exceptions, and that such persons were not 
required to register nor to claim exemption. A del- 
egation representing the nonresistant bodies inter- 
ested met the Premier of Canada and the Minister 
of State at Ottawa for the purpose of seeking a so- 
lution of the difficulties which had arisen. These 
rei>resentatives of Government advised that, accord- 
ing to the meaning of the Act, all the members of 
the nonresistant churches should register ; that the 
exceptions to the act were intended primarily for 
the Russian Mennonites. and while others would be 
leqnired to register and apply for exemption on 
account of religious belief, they would not be o- 


bliged to take the medical examination. It was aI:>o 
stated that they would not be called except for non- 
combatant service, but it was doubtful if such serv- 
ice would be required since that department was 
well supplied, and in case such service should be 
needed the committee would again be constilt«d. 
Under these conditions the brethren in these chon-h- 
eJ^ were advised to register and did so, claiming'- ex- 

No Uniform Decisions 

The local tribunals failed to give uniform de- 
cisions on the applications for religiou-s exemptioms. 
In a fe^v districts only were decisions given in a- 
greement with the decision of the department nii 
justice granting total exemption. Where limited ^ex- 
emptions were given, appeals were made to the dis- 
trict tribunals, and if no adverse decision was r.c- 
ceived appeals were taken to the Central Apj^e^i 
Judge at Ottawa. The district tribunals almost wni- 
formly sustained the decisions of the local tribunai?s, 
and granted exemption only from combatant seo;-- 
ice. The Tunkcr brethren were usually not rcr- 
ognize<:l as havnng any claim for release from sefi- 
ice and nearly all of their young men were called 
to camp. 

Work of the Committee 

In the meantime the committee continued its 
efforts with the government to secure the recog^ni- 
lion which our faith demanded of us. The decisions 
of the local and district tribunals did not accord' 
with the decisions of the Chief Justice who was the 
Central Appeal Judge. To show the difference- of 
opinion expressed by the various offrcials a few ^x.- 


tracts will be recorded. A letter signed by the On- 
tario Re^strar is here quoted in full : 

"Toronito, Ont., July 4, 1918L 
"Dear Sir: In reply to your letter of the 3rd, I beg 
to inform you that since our interview of the 19th Ult., 
we have received instruction from O^ttawa that the On- 
tario Mennonites are 'in exactly the same position as the 
Tunkers and are not ex'ceptions to the Act, but must reg- 
ister and claim exemption on religious grounds in exactly 
the same manner as other conscientious objectors. I 
understan-d that the Chief Pu'blic Representative has writ- 
ten to the bishops of the Mennonite Church in Ontario, 
instructing them that those men are in Class I, of the 
Military Service Act as now defined, will be required to 
register at once if they have not already done so." 

A different opinion was expressed by the deputy 
registrar of London, Ont., to the local tribunal at 
Milverton, Ont., in a letter dated November 7, 1917: 
"All these Mennonite people, of course, are exem/pted 
from the Act, and so long as you are fully satisfied that 
they are in fact Mennonites, you have no option but to 
give them exemption." 

Another letter from the same registrar at To- 
ronto, wiiich was quoted before shows how insistent 
he was in trv'ing to get our people to take up mil- 
itary service : 

''In view of what has passed between us, I venture 
to again call your attention to the advisability of the 
members of your community holding a conference with a 
view of seeing whether you can not see your way to make 
a compromise on the subject of noncombatant service 
with the hospital corps or other noncombatant units. 
With the example of your brethren in the Napoleonic 
w^ars and durimg the American Civil war, it seems to me 
that you could find some better use for your young men 
than have them sent to prison." 

From such conflicting evidence the committee 
gathered that it was necessary to secure a uniform 
decision regarding the Mennonites and Tunkers, and 
to secure relief from the pressure that was being 
used to force members into the service, and to secure 


the liberty of some who had been called and were 
held in military units in the various districts. 

Parliament and the Committee 

Evidence was at hand to show that there was 
no clear well-defined policy on the status of Menno- 
nites and Tunkers ; that it depended a great deal on 
the personal consideration which the officers gave 
to the religious convictions of these people as to the 
interpretation wihich they gave of the Act as it ap- 
plied to these nonresistants ; that there was a deter- 
mined effort on the part of some to force these con- 
scientious objectors into service or into prison. 

The committee found several special friends who 
were members of the House of Commons who un- 
derstood the character and the spirit of the people 
represented by the committee. One of them wrote 
to the committee as follows : "It is very unfortunate 
that in the Military Service Act you were not ex- 
empt in full, the same as the Russian Mennonites. I 
am discussing this question at every opportunity 
with those in authority and will let you know of 
any changes in the situation." In another letter the 

same party wrote, *'Mr. and myself have been 

endeavoring yesterday and today to have matters 
arranged so that your people will be exempt from 
the operations of the Order-in-Council recently pass- 
ed, calling to the colors the young men from nine- 
teen to twenty-three. In this we think we have 
been successful. We had an interview yesterday 
with the Militia Council. The Minister of the Mili- 
tia was present and after discussing the whole sit- 
uation thoroughly, it was arranged that we should 
secure from your Church the names of bishops or 


some one in authority who would issue certificates 
of membership in your Church. The officer com- 
manding the military district would be authorized 
to accept these certificates and allow the men off 
on leave." 

Leave oi Absence 

Notice the last thought, "Allow the men oflF on 
leave." Leave of absence was to be the solution for 
the time being. While Mennonites and others were 
required to register and report to the commanding 
officer when called, the officer was instructed to is- 
sue a leave of absence which could be extended in- 
definitely. Tbis plan should have worked well, but 
for various reasons and pretexts som^ brethren were 
held in camps, in the guard-house, or in the jail. 
Some were court-martialed and sentenced, and sent 
to the military prison. 

In most cases, however, the brethren were per- 
mitted to leave camp as soon as they presented well 
authorized certificates and the officers could arrange 
their leave of absence. Most of the persecutions 
arising from misunderstandings with officials may 
be traced to tlie fact that some men magnified their 
authority, took matters into their own hands, thus 
proving themselves untrue to the government they 
represented. From such, some of the young men 
suffered, but it should be said to the credit of the 
government that some such officers were called be- 
fore higher authorities to answer for their misde- 

Among the Mennonite young men there were 
those who were called before the tribunals a num- 
ber of times to substantiate their claims for exemp- 


lion. They were allowed to have the assistance of 
their parents or ministers. As a rule they held firm 
regardless of the harshness and cruelty of the offic- 
ers who often shamefully reproached their relig-ious 
convictions. A number were detained in barracks 
and guard-houses for refusing to put on the uniform. 
Some were forced into a uniform but refused to 
perform any service. Some of these were soon re- 
leased pending a reconsideration of their cases, or 
for work on the farm. 

The leave of absence finally secured the re- 
lease of all. A few accepted the uniform in order 
to escape persecution but refused toi perform mili- 
tary service and were detained at fatigue duty of a 
non-military nature until their release was secured. 

Among the Tunker brethren, who for a long 
time received no recognition from the military au- 
thorities, conditions were a little more severe. The 
fact that the Mennonites were named in the excep- 
tions of the act gave the Ontario Mennonites some 
prestige. The Tunkers were treated the same as all 
other conscientious objectors, were accounted as 
offenders, and were required to suffer the penalties 
for refusing all military service. At least four of 
their brethren were court-martialed and three were 
sent to the military prison where they were obliged 
to dig stumps and perform other work of a like 
nature under great difficulties. Through the appeals 
of the committee the Tunker brethren also secured 
recognition and the certificates of their bishops were 
honored by the release of all their brethren. The 
sentences of the courts-martial were canceled and 
ihe officers issued the leave of absence, thus freeing 
them of all military duty. 


By the leave of absence plan the nonresistant 
young men were allowed to remain at home, and 
thus were among Canada's best producers instead 
of being consumers only and accomplishing no im- 
mediate good as so many were forced to be in 
camps and guard-houses because they could take no 
part in the war. Canada finally solved the religious 
objector question better than most other countries 
engaged in the war. 

The attitude of Government was much appre- 
ciated, and the nonresistant bodies which had been 
accorded these favors united in their efforts to raise 
3 large relief fund, provided Gt)vernment would use 
it for such purposes as would be acceptable to the 
Church. This is expressed in a resolution passed 
by the committee appointed by the several church- 
es concerned : 

"Whereas, we, Mennonites and Tunikers whose tenets 
cyf faith forbid engaging in any form of military service 
in time of peace or war desire to help bear the tytuxfens 
due to the wht, therefore, 

"Resolved, that we, the Nonresistent Relief Organiza- 
tion, recxwrunend that a generous fund be raised among the 
churches dnfterested which shaH be donated to Government 
as a menioriail of appreciation for the privilege of religious 
liberty, and oirr freedom from military service; which fund 
shall be used for relief and ehari^table purposes; and that 
a committee be appointed which shall interview the gov- 
ernment for suggestions as to the disposail of the said do- 
nation aocorddng to our faith. 

"We further recommend that we encourage a con- 
tinued support of the rel/ief and charitable work during 
the conitinuance of the war. and as long thereafter as is 
deemed advisable by this organiization." 

• In a report of this resolution to the Premier of 
Canada it was stated : '*We trust, Sir Rdbert, that 
this movement may meet the approval of your gov- 
ernment, and submit to your joidgTuent the matter 


of conferring witjh you, or with such members of 
Government as you may suggest, regarding^ the pur- 
pose of this origanization, and shall await your jileas- 
ure and bidding." 

A committee from the Rdief Organization met 
two memtoers of Parliament at Ottawa, Marcli 27 y 
1918, and the following is a part of the committee's 

report to the churches : 

"The members of Government <g"ave yoiw comiiniittee 
a very atten<tive h-earing and are very moi-cli intereSfted in 
the <pairp<os€ of the o-rganizaifryon. We presente4 oatr peti- 
tion, a copy of Nvhich is enclosed, requesting them to ad- 
vise a method of procedure and ithe prcxper applicaitioin of 
the funds to he donated, and we lalso stated the condition 
which at 'the ipres^ent tim-e seems to interfere with 'the 
carrying out of our purpose. We presented to ttie gov- 
ernment a statement as per second enclosed copy, siiow- 
ing how there a^p^pear to be conflicting issues between our 
monresiistant faith and (the ■.p-rovisions of the MiLiJtary Serv- 
ice Act. 

"The members of Govenrm-ent whom we met promised 
to take u/p these matters w^ith their fellow-mem-bers and 
with the proper officials ait the earliest possiible oKMnent 
after the Easter recess and forward to your cowimittee 
•a report thereupon. They were glad for the explanation 
of our situation and felt (to ^give us the fullest aussuraoice 
-that our interests wxxild nott .l>e dis-regarded, an^i oar com- 
plete exemption from military service would be aAlowed." 

Note that the committee had two purposes in 
meeting the officials: First, to discuss the question 
of the ReHef fund; Second, to try to get total ex- 
emption from military service. Just six weeks after 
this interview with the memibers of Parliament the 
secretary of the organization sent out the following 
information to the churches: ''The Ontario Regis- 
trar at Toronto, Mr, C. L. Wilson, has received 
instruction from the Military Service Coundl, that 
Mennonites are outside of the Act and are exempt. 
Some have already reported that they are Menno- 
nites and have received exenuptions." 


Tb€ early appeals of our brethren to Central 
Appeal Judge at Ottawa, asking for complete ex- 
emption, were decided according to the letter of 
the Act, and they were allowed relief from com- 
batant service only. There was considerable differ- 
ence of opinion among the officials at Ottawa re- 
garding the status of the nonresistant people who 
had formerly enjoyed entire exemption. A final 
decision must have been made concerning this ques- 
tion, since later appeals to the same court by some 
of our brethren were acted upon by the Central Ap- 
peal Ji>^e who decided that these persons were 
under the exceptions, and that neither local nor 
appeal tribunals nor the Central Appeal Judge had 
any right to act in these cases. This decision was 
given toward the close of hostilities. But the 
churches were grateful for this final decision from 
the highest tribunal in the government. 

The expressions of gratitude on the part of the 
churches were many, and thanksgiving to God was 
evident in the earnest manner in which the church- 
es engaged in relief work and many other worthy 
objects demanding attention and service. The re- 
lief fund was heartily supported, as in some con- 
gregations the heads of families contributed at the 
rate of one hundred dollars each, the young men of 
military age giving fifty dollars, and the single sis- 
ters each thirty dollars. It is also evident that 
some who were more able gave proportionately less 
than this, but the response was hearty and the 
thanksgiving great. 



Draft Boards 

From the time it was declared that a state of 
war existed, the officials at Washington were busy 
preparing for a larg'e army. Full draft regulations 
were gotten out which provided for one or more 
local draft boards in practically every county in the 
United States and a district board in each Federal 
judicial district. The former had original jurisdic- 
tion on all questions except industrial and agricul- 
tural claims for exemption and deferred classification. 
These were decided by the district boards. Local 
boards arranged for the registration of all men in 
their territories between twenty-one and thirty-one 
vears of age. 


On June 5, 1917, all men within the age limit 
were required to register at their respective voting 
places. Special arrangements were made for those 
who were away from home, or were sick at that 
time. Here came the first real test on the nonre- 
sistant principle. A stand must be taken somewhere 
— ^but where? Sha'll they register? Some thought 
that the place to take a stand was in the Tery be- 
ginning; that nonrcsistant people should not regis- 
ter at all. Others thought that since there was no 


infringement upon the doctrine in so doing, every 
one should register. With so little discussion of 
the subject, it is remarkable how very few did not 
comply with the law. The fdllowing is the form 
that was used : 

1. Name in full. 

2. Home atddress. 

3. Date o«f birth. 

4. Are yx>u (i) a natural born citizen, (2) a natural- 
ized citizen, (3) an alien, (4) or have you declared inten- 
tions. (Sp«oify wihiich) Town, State, Nation. 

5. Where were you born? 

6. If noit a citizen, of what country are you a citizen 
or sifbjeot? 

7. Whart; is your ipresemt trade, o<xupatioji or office? 

8. By wliom employed? 

9. Have you a father, mother, wnfe, -chiki under 12, 
or a sister or brother under 12 solely dependent on you 
for sti'p-port? (Specify which) 

10. Ma-rried or sing^k. (Which)? 

11. What miUitary service have you had? Rank, 
branch, years, ma/tion or state. 

12. Do yo«u claim exermption from the draift (Specify 

I aflarm ithat I have verified the above answers and 
that they are true. 


A Scare 

In the morning of registration day, word went 
out from Washington, and in many cases reached 
those who were conducting the registration about 
noon, that it would not be necessary to fill out num- 
ber 12, as that matter would come up again in the 
examination. In order to save time then and later 
in the tabulation, it was considered best not to have 
it fi'lled out. Some of the registrants insisted on 
filling it out but many did not, and later decided 
that they had been trapped — that this was simply a 
scheme to get the nonresistant boys into the service. 
The news went like wild-fire, bnt when explained by 


a local board a few days later gave general satis- 
faction. This is simpily one of many conditions 
which for a time would cause anxiety. 

Experience taught us later that while it was 
not always safe to trust the inferwr officers, there 
was little or no reason to distrust the officials of 
the War Department at Washington. They might 
not have understood us, or they might have consid- 
ered our position both wrong and impractical, or 
their own plans did not always work out as expect- 
ed and would have to be changed, but they at least 
tried to be just and considerate. 

Confidence Instilled; Examinations 

The letter sent out by the General Conference 
Committee after their interview with Secretarv' Ba- 
ker helped a great deal to bring confidence, and in 
the main body of Mennonites the general sentiment 
prevailed that the brethren in the draft as well as^ 
all others shouW go just as far as they could with- 
out violating a Gospel principle. This would per- 
mit the young men to take the examination and go 
to camp. In many cases the examinations were very 
meager and very poorly done, as was shown by the 
many who were rejected after reaching camp. 

Some boards were very considerate and refused 
to send those to camp who were evidently sincere 
in their convictions against war, and who in the past 
had proven themselves to be good producers. They 
believed that such men would be a greater benefit at 
home than they could possibly be in camp under the 


The first draft regulations provided that those 


who could not take combatant service should get 
from their local boards form number 174. This ex- 
cused them from "any service except siich service 
as the President should define as noncombatant." 
Calling for this form angered some boards. One 
member of such board said, ''There is no number 
174. Se€, here is the book of forms, and number 
173 is the last one in the book." It was so, but form 
174, for good reasons, had been placed between num- 
bers 143 and 144. This is an illustration of how 
well these things were studied by some boards. 
There may be tvvo reasons for this: First, the chair- 
man of one such local board said, "It is simply im- 
possible for us to go over all the instructions which 
we get and do our other work besides. It would 
keep one man busy all the time to keep posted;" 
Second, one could not blame these men for not look- 
ing up some special way for people to get out of 
service when part of their work was to get people 
into it. 

This method of recruiting the army was not very 
satisfactory because there were too many complica- 
tions in it and because there was no umformity. A 
radical change was made which was supposed to 
bring about uniformity and greatly simplify the 
work. All registered men were required to fill out 
a sixteen-page questionnaire. Some of the questions 
required as many as five answers, so that all told 
there were about two hundred twenty-fiv-e questions 
to answer, but they were so arranged that no one 
need answer all of them. These answers were sup- 
ported by affidavits. From these questionnaires (and 
other information if thought necessary) the local 
boards divided the registrants into five classes. Class 


I was to be called first, then class II, and so on. 
The officers at Washington did not believe that any 
except class I would be needed, but a few were 
called from class II, where there were not enough 
in class I to fill the quota. Class V was exempt. 
There were nine divisions in that class, but only 
tour which generally concerned nonresistants. They 
were, First, ministers of the Gospel ; Second, stu- 
dents preparing for ministry ; Third, resident aliens 
(not enemies); Fourth, persons physically or men- 
tally unfit for military service. 

Other registrations and classifications were made 
later, one for the young men who had become of 
age after the first registration, and one to include 
all men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five. 

Effect of the Questionnaire 

As already noticed, the purpose of the question- 
naire was to get unanimity of action on the part of 
the boards, both local and district. It was an im- 
provement over the old method but it came far short 
of producing uniformity. To illustrate: page fifty of 
the Selective Draft Regulations, section 79, rule XII, 
says, *'In class V shall be placed any registrant 
found to be ; a ; b. A regularly or duly or- 
dained minister of religion." In a note below, the 
Regulations very clearly show what is meant by 
such "minister of religion." Regardless of this, quite 
a number of ministers who were ordained in ex- 
actly the manner, and for the purpose set forth in 
the Regulations were required to go to camp just 
ihc same as if they had not been ordained, and 
(Hie was even sentenced to the disciplinary barracks 
at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The other side of 


this is illustrated by the action of another board 
when the bishop appeared before it and said, "I 
jiotice that you have one of our young ministers in 
class I, when it seems to us that he should be placed 
in class V. Please read here what the Regulations 
say about it and see whether you do not think so 
too." The member of the board read it and said, 
""Certainly he belongs in class V, and will be placed 
there." The bishop went out after having heartily 
thanked the mem-bers of the board and met the 
young brother who was doubly surprised, First, at 
seeing his bishop there, not knowing that he was 
within a hundred miles, and, Second, at being shown 
ii re-classification. 

Giving the Soldiers a "Send-off" 

Elaborate preparations were made to give the 
soldier boys a great **Send-efT," when the first few 
contingents went to camp. The band played, and 
the boys were marched through the towns from 
which th-ey were going to camp. Great crowds gath- 
-ered at the depots long before train time. People 
tried to be jovial, talked, laughed, and gave the boys 
many pleasant goodbyes. But there were those in 
many of the crowds who were not in a mood to 
take part in jollities. Their boys were going away. 
They were to prepare for the front, or were to go 
to camp and there be persecuted for their faith. 
Would they see them again? The boys were not all 
laughing. There were those among them who be- 
lieved that war is wrong, and that for them to even 
take part in these demonstrations and in the prac- 
tices of the camp was wrong. They could take no 
part in the drill or other war preparations. War 


was the prime object of it all, and that for them 
was wrong. Others might laugh now and talk brave^ 
bait knowing that they would be brought face to 
face with trials that were greater than going to the 
front gave rise to very serious thought. 

The Position of the Church Tested 

The doctrine of nonresistance was being tested. 
All religious bodies holding it as a tenet of their 
faith should have worked together for its mainte- 
nance, and especially for the benefit of their breth- 
ren in camp. Instead of this they often differed 
widely in their attitude taken toward their members 
m camp. Some were very radical, and urged un- 
wise actions on their members going to camp; oth- 
ers were almost noncommittal. This latter position 
caused loss of confidence among the lx)}-s in the lead- 
ers of their churches, and the boys soon learned to 
go to others who were known to take more of a mid- 
dle ground. Here they received what they could not 
get from their own ministers and often kept up cor- 
respondence with their new advisors rather than to 
correspond with their own pastors. 

One young man writing from camp said, "It is 
doubtful whether the government will consider the 
Church as nonresistant hereafter. Her min- 
isters visit the boys in camp but the boys can get 
no help from them in the solution of problems aris- 
ing here.... They seem to be afraid." The oppOvSite 
of this was shown in some of the smaller nonresist- 
ant bodies who thought that it was inconsistent with 
the nonresistant doctrine to do anything in camp, 
vvvn to keep their own q/uarters clean or to cook 
their own food. Mennonites as a rule considered 


that it was the proper thing to do anything in the 
way of providing for the comfort of self and others, 
stopping short of noncom'batant military service. 
With this lack of unity as to the application of the 
nonresistant doctrine, it is not surprising that there 
should be a difference in the actions of the boys in 

As a rule the attitude of the Mennonite young 
men in camp was in harmony with the attitude of 
the Church at home, as expressed in her conference 
decisions. A very few, indeed, took regular service, 
a few more took some form of noncombatant service, 
but by far the greater number stood for no service 
aside from cleaning up in and around their barracks 
and preparing their own food. 

Lack of Uniformity in Camp Officials 

Some officers in camp, like some boards, took 
matters into their own hands regardless of orders 
from Washington. The Secretary of War issued an 
order April 27, 1918. and reiterated it July 30, 1918, 
v/hich reads, 

"'If, however, any drafted man, upon his arrival at 
camp either thrcmg"h the presentation of a certificate from 
his kKaJ board, or by a written statement addressed by 
himself to the command injg officer, -shall record himself 
as a oonacrentious objector, he shall not against his will, 
be J'equired to wear a uniform. 

In spite of this a number were forced to wear 
the uniform, some for a short time only, others to 
the end of the war. 

Getting Men to Accept Service 

It was not the aim of the war department to 
call men to these camps and feed them and get 
nothing in return from them. One of the duties of 


ihc officers was to get ail men to accept service of 
some kind if that was possible with proper treat- 
ment. Here again methods differed. This is what 
occurred at one camp which is a fair sample of those 
used in several others : 

One day an officer came into the C. O. bar- 
racks and said, "We need a number of men to tend 
the fires in the different Y. M. C. A. buildings in 
the camp. I was informed that the men in this de- 
tachment would not do this. I said that I did not 
1>elieve it. Surely any Christian man can build fires 
in a Christian institution. A man is not a man. say 
nothing about being a Christian, who will not help 
along that much." With an oath he said, "I want 
to see whether there is any one here so small that 
he will not build a fire in a Y. M. C. A. All who 
are willing to do this work will please stand. Come 
now, be men." Not one arose. Several days later 
one came in who seemed to think that he could win 
the C. O.'s by flattery. He said, "Now boys, I have 
heard a great deal about you, and I feel sure that 
conditions are not as they are presented to mc. I 
have always said that I believed that you were men 
— too much of men to desire to do nothing while 
others were dying for the welfare of their country. 
1 recognize your religious convictions and would not 
ask you to take uj) combatant service, but I thought 
tliat you might be willing to take up some form of 
nonconibatant service. If there are such here, let 
them stand." No one moved. 'T see that I did not 
make myself clear; you would not need to go into 
any danger. You would be kept well back of the 
lines. Now how many will stand?" No one arose. 
"Well, possibly you do not want to cross the ocean. 


We will need a great many men here. Will you do 
service if we promise you that you need not leave 
America?" (Same result as before.) "Well, pardon 
me, but you will surely be willing to help take care 
of soldiers who have been wounded and are to be 
p^laced into convalescent hospitals. You boys are 
Christians, and I respect your high standard, but 
surely it is the work of a Christian to help his fel- 
lowman. Doubtless you will all take this." With 
up-turned palms he moved both hands upward, say- 
ing, "Everybody rise for this work." Not a man 
stirred. He had said too much. He dare not show 
disgust, but he went out not very well pleased. 

The graceful and manly way in which the boys 
suffered the taunts would have done credit to older 
and more experienced heads. The C. O.'s in a cer- 
tain camp had been transferred to other barracks. 
The next Sunday morning an officer came in and 
said, "Everybody out." They all obeyed. The offic- 
er said, "Line up along here." They did so. Then 
he said, "Go all around these barracks for a space 
this wide and pick up all the cigar and cigarette 
stubs, and deposit them in this vessel." While the 
boys did this, the soldiers from the other barracks 
were looking out of their windows and making re- 
marks of the kind that one would naturally expect 
from such a crowd. After they were through the 
officer said. "You are excused." Naturally the boys 
were stirred, but after they were all in the barracks 
again, one of their number said, "Now boys, we all 
know that this was done to disgrace us, but let none 
of us say one word in retaliation," and they did not. 
That was too much for the officer. Evidently he 
expected to have a quarrel, but when no one said 


anything, arrangements were soon made for another 

Trials awaited our brethren at every turn. So 
long as they could conscientiously obey the com- 
mands of the officers the food was sufficient and of 
good quality; but when some command was diso- 
beyed, regardless of any convictions which the of- 
fender may have had, he w^as then placed into the 
guard-house. Here he did not always fare so well. 
Frequently these prisoners were put on an alternate 
diet, two weeks on bread (a very limited amount) 
and water, then two weeks on regular meals. But 
meals were not the only ills of the guard-house. 
Generally these places were infested with vermin 
and were occupied by the worst class of men in the 
camp — people who were used to fighting all their 
lives, and would fight on any pretense. One young 
man was placed into one of these prisons and the 
officer who took him there said, "Here is a C. O. 
You have my consent to pommel him as much as 
you please." To the credit of the prisoners, let it 
be said that he was not molested. In this, these 
ruffians showed more consideration than the officer. 
Some of the hardest trials in camp will be given in 
Chapter X in the boys' own words, and their relig- 
ious privileges will be discussed in Chapter XHI 
under the general subject. Camp Visitations. 

The C. 0.*s a Trial to the Officers 

The C. O. was not the only one who had trials 
in camp because of ^e doctrine of nonresistance. 
Think of the man who enlisted at the call of his 
country and was anxious to go to the front to "help 
make this ccmntry safe for democracy," tken to find 


himself placed in command of a lot of young men, 
full of life and vigor, but who refused to fight or 
even train. Whether he professed to be a Christian 
or not matters little; he can never understand such 
actions. Had his views harmonized in the least with 
that of the C. O., he would not have enlisted. No 
wonder the C. O. was often treated rather roughly. 
The wonder is that not a much larger number were 
made to suffer. 

"'Specially Qualified Officers" 

The order of the President was that the C. O.'s 
should be ''placed under the command of specially 
cjualified officers of tact and judgment," but in many 
cases it would be difficult for an offi<:er who desired 
■^'overseas service" to use his tact and judgment to 
the best advantage in the presence of those who to 
him seemed nothing short of slackers. This "tact 
and judgment" was to be sought, not with a view of 
^entrapping the boys, but that by personal talks and 
other legitimate means as many as possible might 
l)e persuaded to take up arms and fight, and if that 
could not be attained then at least to accept non- 
combatant service. 

General Bell 

There were exceptions to this. Major General 
Bell of Camp Upton asked to be placed in command 
of the C. O.'s. In this case the C. O.'s were largely 
Socialists. By devoting much time and energy to 
liis new charge he succeeded in getting a large num- 
ber to accept combatant service, but there were not 
many General Bells. Most of the officers despised 
the C. O.'s and to be placed in charge of them was 
more than some could stand. Very often our boys 


were made to suffer for it, but when we consider 
conditions we will not think so hard of some of these 



The Conscientious Objector 

Those who refused to take any part in winning- 
the war soon found themselves branded as "yellow," 
**slackers/' "cowards," "Huns," "pro-German," or 
something else equally unkind. The name (bor- 
rowed from England) used by the war department 
to designate the drafted men who took such a stand 
was, ^^Conscientious Objector," and at first was in- 
tended to apply only to such as took this stand be- 
cause they belonged to a Church which embodied 
nonresistance in its creed and because the men 
themselves believed that it would be wrong for 
them to have a part in carnal warfare. Later it 
was applied also to those who for other reasons 
refused to take part in this war. This was unfortu- 
nate. If the two classes had been kept separate, 
the first class would have been better understood. 

General Crowder's View 

The religious and political objectors were two 
distinct classes and were so considered by Provost 
Marshal General Crowder as well as by all other 
right thinking people. In the general's report to 
the Secretary of War on the first draft, made Decem- 
ber 20, 1917, he says: 

"Som>e boards treat r€il'i^o-ifs a-nd other conscaentious 
objectors a« one class, and say that when found honest, 


they mig-hit as well be assigned to noncoml>atarnt service. 
But it sihould not be for gotten that the two d asses are 
entirely distin-ct — ■legally, morally, and practicaiily. They 
are legally disitinct because the aot of Congress exp.ressly 
recognjizes and gives a legal staitns -to the one, but wholly 
ignores the other. They are morailly distinct, because the 
-one obeys what he regards as la divine mandate, btindin-g 
the conscience of the 'believers and sancitioned by a set- 
tled traditicm of their Chitrch; while the other is mierely 
choosing to ac'cei>t the loose and untried specufcition of 
modern theorists who avow no respect for reliigioMs Scrip- 
tures and profess no authority over the conscience. They 
are praotically distin-ct, because the one dnclud'es an as- 
certainable group of individnaJls, registered in their sect, 
definitely fixed on May 18 (the date O'f the passage af the 
selective service act) and not capable of enlargement at 
will; while the other may linclude any one iv'liomsoever 
who has chosen, after May 18 lasit, to make pcrofession 
insincerely, of an opinion oq^posed to war; and thits this 
groiip, if recognized in practice, would inevitabiy become 
an easy and impregnable refuge for an unlimited number 
of slackers." 

In speaking of the religious and political ob- 
jectors, General Crovvder further says: 

"Only those men whose convictions against war were 
so deep as to risk any consequences of their stand, seemed 
to res'ist. The men whose principles were not real, or 
whose courage was weak, •complied with orders and are 
performing military service. .. .The whole experience of 
England and United States shows that either deep re- 
ligious convictions or unusual intellectual independence is 
required to maintain so unpopular and heretical a posi- 

View of Norman A. Thomas 

In the same report is this quotation from Nor- 
man A. Thomas : 

"It lis natural to think of (the conscientious o4>iectors 
as essenjtially religious .... Not all conscientious o3>iectors 
are avowedly religious, nor "is rehgious conscierettous ob- 
jecHon confined to relatively snialll sects whidh liave in- 
corporated it in their creeds. Within the last t^feneration 
tiiere 'lias geen a wide growth of peace seutimeat in the 
churches. Then you have t:he young idealist aanong the 
iivtel'lectuals with whom humanity lis a reality never served 
by the horrors of war, and a very much larger ^roitp of 
working men wiio ha\e learned too well the soHdiarity of 


the workinig- class to believe that the organized destrun:- 
■tion of their brdthren who march under a different national 
banner ■will hasten the dawn of real liberty and fraternity." 

Denominations Represented 

It is perfectly natural that people who held that 
it was a Christian duty to help win the war should 
claim that the conscientious objector was absolutely 
in the Avrong", and especially so if he was a religious 
objector. Tlie religious objectors came from about 
forty denominations, and the larger the number of 
their young men who refused to accept service, the 
more that denomination was reviled, and the more 
things were said about them that were absolutely 
untrue — and that very often by men who had every 
opportunity to know the truth. They were called, 
**stupid," "dull," "ignorant," and a score of other 
things which suggest mental deficiency ; this, too, in 
spite of the fact that in at least several of the camps 
the C. O. detachment stood the best psychological 
test of any detachment in the camps, and despite 
the fact that a goodly number of them were college 
students and graduates, and even a few college pro- 

Political Objectors 

Among the political objectors were to be found 
the anarchist, whose purpose it was to break down 
all rule and order; the socialist, who had not the 
least religious objection to war but was opposed to 
ihis war regardless of his reasons for it; the man 
who would not fight because he was pro-German ; 
and the idealist who chose "to accept the loose and 
untried speculations of modern theorists." Possibly 
one-third of those who held to their views as con- 
scientious objectors and were court-martialed and 


sent to the disciplinary ibarracks at Fort Leaven- 
worth, Kansas, were political objectors. Whether 
or not this class should have had the same rights to 
exemptions as the religious objectors is not ours to 
discuss here. Our subject is primarily the religious 

Religious Objectors 

The name, religious objector, may well apply 
to nearly all, it not all, the Mennonites who were 
called to cami). They were such, not simply be- 
cause it was the creed of the Church, but having 
learned the Scriptures on the subject of war, they 
were ready to stand for those teachings regardless 
of results. They knew that children of God are not 
to be world rulers, but ''strangers and pilgrims," 
that it is the business of the world to rule the world, 
and that this at times may mean war; but if they 
wanted to be fellow-heirs with Christ they must ab- 
stain from all wars, and with equal propriety from 
all that abets war. 

On going to camp the religious objector with 
others was asked to do military service ; but he real- 
ized thiat thereby he would be helping the war. He 
lealized, too, that he must stem the tide somewhere, 
for everything in camp had for its object the very 
thing which in his mind was wrong — the taking of 
human life and the destruction of property. He 
wanted to be true — ^he could go no farther. If he 
had sought the easiest way he would have gone 
with the crowd. It Avould have required less cour- 
age to enter the trenches, to face the machine guns 
— yea, the cannon — than to stand against such odds. 


But he is not his own ; he must obey God at all 

Captain Hough 

In some camps all that was necessary for the 
leligious objector to do was to state his position 
plainly and honestly and show his card (form 174 or 
1008) or write out a statement and send it to the 
commanding officer, but in other camps that seemed 
to avail nothing; all seemingly depended upon the 
officers. Captain Hough 'at Camp Sherman (Ohio) 
will always have the grateful consideration of the 
religious objectors at that camp for the way in which 
he dealt with the problem. At the same time, those 
who were not well founded or were untrue were 
more likely to be brought into service than under 
the methods used in some other camps. If there 
Avas any spirit of revenge in the hearts of the C. O.'s 
in some camps, the treatment would not soon have 
been forgotten. Curses and scoffs were not consid- 
ered sufficient ; kicks and blows became a part of 
the treatment. 

The Board of Inquiry 

On June 1, 1918, Newton D. Baker, Secretary 
of War, appointed as a Board of Inquiry, Major 
Richard C. Stoddard; Julian W. Mack, judge of the 
United States circuit court of appeals; and Harlan 

F. Stone, dean of Columbia University Law School. 
About two and a half months later Major Stoddard 
was detailed for service in Europe and Major Walter 

G. Kellogg was appointed chairman in his stead. 

The purpose of such a board was to examine 
all the C. O.'s in the various camps, to determine 
which ones were sincere, and to find the "slackers" 


who were not slow in trying to find shelter under 
the plea of religion. It was originally intended that 
all the C O.'s should ibe gathered into one central 
camp and all be examined there; but this was not 
done, and the board traveled from camp to camp^ 
making long journeys and spending much time on 
the railroads. 

To determine the sincerity of each and not da 
an injustice to anyone was not an easy task. A big 
job, little evidence, the unnatural environment for 
the C. O., all aided in making it more difficult. K 
he had joined the Church before April 6, 1917, had 
a certificate showing him to be a consistent member^ 
had his card from the local board showing that it 
believed that he was entitled to the claims made in 
the printed form, and his answers were clear and 
satisfactory he was usually considered sincere. This 
board divided all parties examined into different 
classes and recommended them accordingly to the 
war department at Washington. Classifications were 
as follows : 

I — A. Those found to 'be sincere reli'gions objectors 
and recommended for fairm or industrial furlougli. 

] — 'P.. Those found to be sincere non-reli^ous ob- 
jectors and recommended for farm or industrial furlough. 

I — C. Thos^ found to be sincere conscientious o'b- 
jeotors who arc recommended for Friends Reconstruction 

2' — A. Those found to be sincere icons<:ierutious ob- 
jectors as to combatant but not sincere as to nonccrtnbat- 
ant service, and vvho are therefore recommended to be as- 
signed to non'CombaJtant service. 

2 — B. Those found to be sincere conscientious ob- 
jectors who are willing to accept, and who are therefore 
recommended for noncombatant service, 

2 — C. Those found to be sincere cotiscientiou-s ob- 
jectors, wlio aje willing to accep-t service in sun-d who arc 
assigned to, reconstruction hospitals. 


3. Those t'ound to be ins'incere and assignable to any 
military duty. 

4. Those ofbjectors who are recommen-ded 'to be sent 
to Fort Leaven'worth. Kansas, for further examinaition, 

5. Those objectors who upon examination withdraw 
their objections. 

6. Those found to be sick or unfit for examination, 
and recommended to be sent to a hospital for treatment. 

7. Allien enemies or neutrals. 

8. Those objectors who are recommended for mental 
examination and discharge, if not found competent. 

9. Not in 'camp — not seen by board. 

10. Under criminal charge — ^the board expresses no 
opinion imtil the decision of the court-martial. 

In 1 — A af the foregoing" list reference is made 
to the farm furlough. Farm help was scarce before 
this country got into the war and was made much 
more so when thousands of young men were taken 
from the farms by the draft. There was a general 
cry for farm help. \\ omen worked in the fields, but 
that was not sufficient. This demand for help was 
made the more positive because there were many 
C. O.'s in the various camps who were thoroughly 
familiar with farm labor and who would have been 
very glad to devote their time to such work instead 
of being in camp where they felt that they were no 
good to themselves, their country, nor an}' one else, 
at least so far as the food problem was concerned. 
Various plans had been proposed and finally the war 
department decided to have the C O.'s, so recom- 
mended by the board of inquiry, put out on farms 
at such a price as would be satisfactory to both the 
camp officials and the farmer. In some cases the 
farmers Avere compelled to pa\' as much as sixty 
dollars per month, others from forty to fifty dollars. 
The C. O. received thirty dollars and the balance, 
in accord'ance with Government requirement, was 
given to the Red Cross. Some of the young men 


were so anxious to be furloughed to some good farm- 
er that when the camp officials asked more than the 
farmer was willing to pay the C. O. gave the farm- 
er part of his thirty dollars. Some camps had ar- 
rangements by which all the money was paid to 
the camp, and the C. O. did not receive anything 
until lie was discharged. At the same time he must 
furnish his own clothes and pay his incidental ex- 
penses. Either the farmer or the young man must 
pay the railroad fare. In many cases the farmer 
would not ; the young man had not been earning 
an}'thing as he had refused to accept the soldier's 
pay while in camp. In some cases at least there 
was something for the Church to do in seeing that 
this need was supplied. 

Lack of Uniformity in Furlough Plans 

It w^as intended that none should receive a farm 
furlough until after the examination by the board 
of inquiry, but that was not strictly adhered to. 
Nearly all the Mennonite boys were very glad to 
accept such furloughs so that they might be produc- 
ers and not only consumers, as they must necessar- 
ily be in camp. The plan of getting the young men 
out depended almost exclusively on the camp offi- 
cials. In some camps the farmer would have to 
appear and sign the necessary papers before the 
young man would dare leave the camp. In one case 
a young man was allowed to make applications for 
the furlough, sign up for the farmer, stop on the 
way to get his trunk and proceed to the farm eight 
hundred miles from the camp without any question 
as to whether he would get to the place alone. 

It was generally understood that none of the 


C O.'s were to be furloug'hed to their home com- 
munities. One case, however, was found where the 
young. man lived with his father before the war with- 
in two miles of the Ohio line, in Indiana. He had 
been sent to Camp Sherman (O.). One day a farm- 
er came and asked for a C. O., and this boy was 
pointed out to him. The farmer and camp officials 
made the bargain as to the wages to be paid. On 
the way back to the farmer's home, the young man 
inquired as to the place where the farmer lived, his 
address, etc., and found that although he would be 
on a farm in Ohio, he would be only five miles away 
from his home. 

In the majority of cases no attention was paid 
by camp officials as to whether the young men got 
into neighborhoods where they could worship with 
co-religionists or not. Many of them got into such 
communities because the farmers applied for certain 
boys and thus the desired end was reached, but this 
did not always work. One farmer went to camp and 
asked for a certain C. O. He was told that no word 
had come as to whether the board of inquiry had 
recommended him for a furlough. The farmer asked 
whether he could engage the young man condition- 
ally, and whether it would help if he would wire 
him as soon as he heard that such recommendation 
had come. The officer said, "I promise nothing. If 
you wired me that you would be here at four o'- 
clock this evening and a man came at three that 
wanted him I would not keep him for you. The 
man who is here when the recommendation comes 
is the man that gets him." 

In some communities there were threats of vio- 
lence when it became known that people who would 


do nothing toward winning the war, were getting" 
help for their farm work through the C. O.'s. In 
one neighborhood those who had received such 
young men decided that for their own safety as well> 
as for the life of the young men it was advisable 
to send them back to the camp. In another com- 
munity to which a goodly number of young men had 
been furloughed the feeling became so intense that 
threats of murder and incendiarism became frequent. 
Especially the C. O.'s were threatened. A party 
from the community phoned to the captain who had 
the C. O.'s in charge. He at once boarded the train, 
came into the neighbor'hood, and calling a meeting, 
told the people that they had better be careful; that 
these young men were in the service of the United 
States; that it had been planned by government au- 
thority to place these young men here, and that 
they were going to stay and they will be protected 
even if it is necessary to bring troops to defend them. 
That quieted the mob spirit, and the boys were not 

About sixty C. O.'s were furloughed to one of 
the western farms of more than six thousand acres 
devoted largely to corn-growing. Major Kellogg' 
visited this farm and, speaking about the large corn 
crop, says. "Without the objectors it would have 
Ix'cn im])ossiblc to harvest the crop. Certainly they 
proN ed a God-send to the farmer, and indirectly to 
the c(3untry at large. And the American Red Cross 
benefited substantially, as the treasury of that little 
country chapter would show.... the report that he 
( the farmer) gave of them was most reassuring. 
'I'luy liad, as a rule, worked faithfully and had 


proved very capable farmers — in fact, he never had 
2i 'better force of men on his farm." 

Better Segregation Necessary 

It would have been much better for the con- 
scientious objector, religious or political, as well as 
for the soldier if the former had been hundreds of 
miles from any camp, or if there had been some civ- 
ilian work Which he could have taken up at less 
pay than the soldier received. At camp every line 
of work had for its purpose the abetting of war. 
The C. O. felt that this was wrong and hence he 
must refuse to work or violate his conscience. 
The former meant persecution; the latter a serious 
cltect upon his character. The soldier would have 
been better satisfied with his lot and entered more 
enthusiasti<:ally into his work. 

A su/ggestion was made to R. C. McCrea. civil- 
ian commissioner for conscientious objectors, that 
a number of churchmen be given the use of several 
thousand acres of land in the Pima Indian Reserva- 
tion in Arizona during the war and have several 
hundred furloughed to this ranch. All that would 
have been above actual expense, all parties working 
for board and clothes, would have been given for 
reconstruction work. The commissioner approved 
of the plan, w^ho soon after went to Washington to 
la^' the plan before the authorities there; but just 
then the Germans began to retreat, and it was de- 
cided that it would hardly be needed. If the pro- 
posal had been made at the proper time, it is pos- 
sible that the plan would have been adopted and 
that much of the dissatisfaction in camp might have 
been avoided. 



Those who had received farm furloughs were 
called back to camp some time after the signing of 
the armistice, and with those who did not receive 
furloughs, were discharged among the first after de- 
mobilization had begun. Many of those who had 
accepted noncombatant service were held longer. 
As a rule the discharges given at camp and at Fort 
Leavenworth disciplinar)^ barracks were on blue pa- 
per whi<rh meant that they were neither honorable 
nor dishonorable. A very few C. O.'s who were 
among the first to be discharged received a white 
paper, or an honorable discharge, while some who 
were never court-martialed, had spent little or no 
time in the guard-house, and even before given their 
final release, were permitted to go to France for re- 
construction work, were given a yellow paper, or 
a dishonorable discharge. Surely the ways of war 
are peculiar. 

Accepting Pay 

Most of the Mennonite boys refused to accept 
pay for the time spent in camp, but before being 
discharged they were required to sign the pay roll. 
A few signed, and then refused to accept the money. 
It is not very difficult to imagine what was done 
with it. A large number accepted the money and re- 
turned it to the United States treasury or to the 
war department, a few used it to buy equipment to 
go into the Friends reconstruction work, others gave 
it for relief work, and a comparatively small number 
accej)ted it and kept it, claiming that while they did 
Government no good, after all they were required 
to lose the time, hence had a right to the money. 


The experiences of the C. O.'s were not pleas- 
ant, but many of them had an opportunity to live 
out a Gospel principle in such a way that even those 
who opposed them and persecuted them were bound 
to respect them for having a principle and living it 
regardless of results. The young men were made 
decidedly stronger by their experiences, provided 
they have been drawn closer to God and have be- 
come more like Christ. On the other hand, any 
exaltation that may grow out of these times of test- 
ing will mar that which should have proved a great 


Very few, if any, Mennonites would have been 
court-martialed if the war department would have 
been allowed time enoug"h to get the farm furlough 
plan worked out; but some of the camp officials be- 
came very much dissatisfied, took advantage of a 
certain ruling of the department, and determined that 
the C. O.'s would work or get out of the camp. 
There was but one way to accomplish this. They 
must give ground for a charge of disobeying orders. 
Where this was planned, a noncommissioned officer 
would give a command (at Camp Taylor, Ky., that 
was usually to rake the ground preparatory to sow- 
ing grass seed), then the young man would explain 
that he could not conscientiously do that, giving his 
reasons, but the officer would not take that for an 
answer. He would repeat the command and then 
say, "Will you do it?" If the young man continued 
to explain, he was stopped and told to answer, 
"Yes," or "No." Yes meant that he would promise 
to do what he believed to be wrong, and would be 
\ iolating his conscience. To say, No, meant that lie 
would wilfully disobey orders. Another officer (a 
commissioned officer) came and went througli the 
same process. Now there would be two witnesses 
and two violations. A court-martial was the natural 


result. That meant a sentence of from five to thirty 
years at hard labor in one of the three disciplinary 
barracks in the United States : Fort Jay, Governor's 
Island, N, Y., Alcalraz Island, San Francisco Bay, 
Calif., or Fort Leavenworth, Kans. 

Practically every one has heard of some of 
their friends being court-martialed, but do not have 
much idea of the process. For their benefit parts 
of one trial will be given. It is that of Bro. Allen 
Christop'hel, Camp Taylor, Ky. There were eleven 
jurymen (all except one were captains), the Judge 
Advocate and his assistant, and the prosecuting at- 
torney. (To save space the following abbreviations 
will be used: P., prosecution; A., accused (which 
of course means Bro. Christophel) ; C, court; W., 

P. "You have been given a copy of 'the charges'"' 

A. "Yes, sir." 

P. 'Y'ou have been infformed that you have a rignt 
to have counsel?" 

A. "Yes, sir." 

P. "And that you have a right to testify in your own 

A. "Yes. sir." 

P. "Do you desire to introduce counsel?" 

A. "No, sir." 

A reporter was then sworn in and Bro. C. was 
asked whether he wanted a carbon copy of the trial. 
He said that he did. He was asked whether he ob- 
jected to being tried before any of these men. He 
answered in the negative. The two charges were 
then read. Notice that they are alike except that 
different persons are named. 

CHARGE I: Violation of the 64th Article of War. 
Specification: In that Private Allen Christophel, 159th 
Conscientious Objector Deta<^hment, having received a 
lawfail <x>mmajid irom 2nd Lt. Robert L. Maddox, Inf. 
N. A., has superior ofifi'cer, to tia:be a rake and rake the 


ground, in preparation for sowing grass seed, within the 
area ocouip'ied >by the Base Hoispiital, Camp Zachary Tay- 
lor, Ky., on or about the 2nd day of May 1918, wilfully 
disobeyed ithe same. 

Charge II: Violation of the 65'th Article of War. 
Specification: In that Allen Christophel, 159th Consci- 
entious Objector Detachment having received a lawful or- 
der from Corp. Alexander Morrison, 14 Co. 4 Bn. 159 De- 
pot Brigade, \Vho was then in 'the execution of his office, 
to take a rake and rake the 'ground, in preparation for 
sowing grass seed, within the area occupied by the Base 
Hospital, Camip Taylor, Ky,, on or about the 2nd day of 
May, 1918, wilfully disobeyed the same. 

P. "How do vou plead to the speed tkaition of Charge 

A. "I admi*t that I did not obey th^ order, but I 
plead not guilty of wilfully disobeying a lawful command."" 

P. "How do you plead to charge I?" 

A. "1 plead not guiility of disobeying a la'wful com- 

P. "How do you plead as to specifiica'tion of charge 

A. "Read 'fhe sipecificaition, please. (The judge advo- 
cate here read the specification of charge II.) I admit 
that I disobeyed the order, but I plead not guilty of dis- 
obeying a lawful order." 

P. "How do you plead to charge II?" 

A. "No't guilty." 

The paragraphs of the Courts-mantiall that set forth 
the gist of the several ofifenses, namely Paragraph 415 and 
Paragraph 416. were read to the court by the Judge Ad- 

2nd Lieutenanit, Robert Maddox, Inf. N. A., 15th Com- 
pany, 4th Bn., 159th Depot Brigade was first witness^ 
Aifter being sworn and answering to a few preliminary 
questions he was asked: 

P. "Do you know the accused, if so, state his name." 

W. "His name is Allien Christophel." 

P. "How long have you known hitn?" 

W. "I have known him sdnce April 21, 1918. At that 
time he reported at the Conscientious Objector Detachment 
from the T4th Company, 4th Bn., 159 Depot Brigade." 

P. "Did you have any relations with him on or aibout 
the 2nd day of May, 1918: if so, state to the court what 
they were." 

W. "I did. I directed Alexander Morrison to take 
a detail of men over to the Base llosipital, and there wait 
for me. 1 got there and met the detail and found out the 
work that was to be done by them, and the work that 
was to be required, see that they were to rake some 


ground there in the fere part of ithe ground of the Hos- 
pital, m 'the rear of the Base Hospital, rake the ground to 
receive grass seed. This accused was in the detail. First, 
we gave them rakes and told them to get busy raking the 
ground; about half of the number of the detail went to 
raking, and obeyed the order. This accused was among 
the number that refused to obey the order. I ordered 
Corp. Morrison to line them up and give each one of them 
the order individuailly, which he did, and this accused was 
one of 'those thait refused to obey the order. I then took 
the rake myself and told the accused to take the rake and 
rake the ground. He said that he could not conscientiousily 
do it. I told him that I did not care whether he could 
conscientiously do it or not, to take the rake and rake 
the ground. He insisted that he could not conscientiously 
do it. I told him either to tell me whether he would or 
would not, and he never would tell me whether he would 
or would not; but he refused to do the work." 

P. "Pursuant to whose command did you send them 
over there?" 

W. "It was 'Pursuant to Col. Oloman's order. He 
was then commanding ofificer of the 159th Depot Brigade, 
an-d we were under his command." 

P. "Did yau have any conversation with the accused 
prior to this time?" 

W. "I had. It was on or about April 24, igi8, I 
caWed rtlie accused iri'to 'the orderly room, and there I ex- 
plained to him the executive order of President Wilson, 
dated March 20, 1918, and I insiisted that he accept some 
service, which he refused to accept. The accused was also 
present at the assembly — he was in a group that was pres- 
ent in the mess hall of the Conscientious Objectors on 
a'bout — -well, it was just a short time, I think it was about 
April 24, 1918, proba'bly it was later than that. Any way 
it was subsequent to the itime that we went to the Base 
Hospital. At that meeting Judge Rutherford, I believe he 
was from New York, made a talk to the men. insisting 
that they take some noncombatant work. He was followed 
by Col Cloman, who told them that if they did not do 
this work he wouild have them put into the guard-'house 
and tried by Court-Marrtial, and he told them that it 
would be an offense, and explained to them what the of- 
fense wo-uld be. I did not read the Articles of War, but 
at the same time he refused to obey the order I told him 
what the Articles were, and what the circumstance was. 
When I got within about 25 yards of where I gave the 
order, I stopped the detail and said to them, 'Probably 
some of you do not understand the magnitude of your 
offense, and I want you to understand that the refusal to 
obey an order o-f an officer may be punished by death, 


or 'by such otlier punishmemt as the court-martial may 
direct.' " 

P. "What was your rank o^n this 2nd af May, cg-iS?" 

W. "2nd Lieut., Infantry, N. A." 

P. "Were you in cammand of that detaicihmenit on 
•that day?" 

W. "Yes, :sir." 

P. (To the aiccucsed) "Do you desire 'to ask him any 
quesitions, do you want to ask him any thing ?" 

A. "No, sir.'" 

P. ''Do you want me to ask him anything tor jroiu?" 

A. "No, sir. There may ibe a few faulty dates but 
I suppose those will be cfl eared up." 

P. "You can asik him any question you want to or 
later on you will be given an op>portunity to make any 
statement that you want to." 

A. "I do not ithink the question of dates will have any 
beariing on the caise." 

Corp. Alexander Morrison was sworn and answered 
a few preliminary questions then proceeded as follows: 

P. "Do you know the accused; if so state who he is?" 

W. "Yes, sir, Allen Christophel." 

P. "How long have you known him?" 

W. "Oh it has been about, better than a raomfth." 

P. "What was your rank on or about the 2nd day of 
May, 1918?" 

W. "Corporal." 

P. "Did you have any relations with the accused? If 
so, state to the court, in substance, what they were?" 

W. "About taking him to worik?" 

P. "Yes." 

W. "Wihy, we got a detail to march over to the Base 
Hospital, and march t'hem over there to do some work, to 
..sow grass seed. We got them lined up. and a lot of them 
werut to work; and this man stood out and did not go 
jto work, and I asked him why he didn't do it, and he 
said he could not conscientiously work, it was against his 

P. "Were you in command of the detachment an ithat 

W. "Yes, sir." 

P. "By whom were you 'given orders?" 

W. "By Lieut. Maddox." 

P. "What organization were you with at that tinne?" 

W. "Conscientious Objectors." 

P "What organization was the accused with at that 

W. "Conscientious Objectors." 

P. "Starte to the court what order you guve to the 


W. "I got him a rake and offered it to him, and told 
ihim to go out there and ralce lup the ground — loosem up 
the grouTitl so as to sow grass sc'cd." 

P. "What did he say?" 

W. "He said that he coujd not conscientiously do it." 

R "Ddd lie do dt?" 

W. "No, sir." 

P. (To the accused) "Do you desire to ask him any 

A. ''No, sir." 

P. "Do you want me to ask him any for you?" 

A. "No, sir." 

P. "The ^prosecution rests." 

The Court. "It becomes my duty to inform you of 
youT rvghits and your privileges in this case. You can take 
the stand i<f you want to, and make a statement not under 
oath; in such case you will not be subject to cross exam- 
ination by ithe judge advocate or the court. You can make 
a statement under oath; by so doing you will be subject 
to tbe same cross examination both by the judge advocate 
and try the court, and you are entitled to the s»ame -p^rM- 
leges, and have to share the same responsibilities as any 
other uTtness. You can call any amount of witnesses you 
want in your own behalf. You have heard w^hat your 
rights are in this case; you can elect which course you 
desire to take. What do you desire to do?" 

A. "I desire no witnesises. My creed' — " 

Court. "You do mot have to take an oath, if you do 
not want to. 

A. "I desire to make a statement not under oath." 

"Court. "Now you can explain your side of the case 
to Ithe court, any thing you want." 

P. "State your name, your rank, and the orgamization 
to which you belong, and your location." 

A. "My name is Allen Chrisftophel; rank, private; I 
belong to the Conscientious Objector Detachment of the 
1591th Depot Brigade; Camp Zachary Taylor, Kentucky." 

P. "You may now state anything that you desire, in 
youT own defense." 

A. "When I was taken to the hospital I was asked 
to ra'ke preparatoiry to sowing grass seed, and I refused 
to do so, with no criminal intent, and with no intention to 
wilfully disobey a lawful order. I, at that time, consid- 
ered the order unlawful, for a few reasons; but that was 
not the only purpose that guided me in refusing to work. 
In the first -place, in conversation with Lieut. Maddox, he 
told me tihat this work was of a military nature. Further- 
more, in reading concerning Assignment of Work,' under 
the O^fartermas'ter's Department, I noticed that there was 
a ciliatjse called 'Workimg Gang,' and while I hadn't tech- 


nicallly laccepited service, I knew from it that I would be 
renderi'ing military service; and according to one clause in 
the President's ruling, which says, "but not to altoiw their 
objections ito be made the basis of any favor or ao«isidera- 
tion, beyond exemption from actual military servi-ce,' I 
concluded that in harmony with that ruling I wouW not 
be required by that ruling to do that service. 

"But that was not the main thing that guided me in 
refus-ing. There is nothing in my belief nor my creed 
that forOaids me to rake grass seed. There is nothing in 
my creed and my belief that forbids me to do a number 
of other kinds of work in 'camp, but the thing tliajt I ob- 
jected to is, because this work and all other wocrk under 
the TTi'ilitary arm of the government has for its sole intent — 
one purpose, that of taking vengeance and that of de- 
stroying life — which thing hias 'been taught against by our 
Church since it was founded in 1525. In 1632 their Con- 
fession of Faiith was drawn up, and they made the fallow- 
ing statement:" The accused then read the whole of 
Article XIV from the Mennonite Confession of Faith which 
is as "follows: 

Article XIV. 

Defense by Force. 

" 'Regarding revenge, whereby we resist our enemies 
with the sword, we believe and confess ithat the Lord Jesus 
has forbidden his disciples and followers all revejnge aud 
resistance, and has thereby commanded them not to "re- 
turn evil for evil, nor railing for railing:' but to "put up 
the sword into the sheath,' or, as the prophets foretold, 
'beat them into plough-shares.* 

" 'From this we see, that, according to the example, life, 
and doctrine of Christ, we are not to do wrong, or cause 
offense or vexation to any one; 'but to seek the welfare 
and salvation of all men; also, if necessity should require 
it. to flee, for the Lord's sake, from one city or country to 
another, and suffer the spoiling of our goods, rather than 
give occasion of offense to any one; and if we are struck 
on our 'right cheek, rather to turti the other a3so/ than 
revenge ourselves, or return the blow. 

" 'And that we are, besides this, also to pray for our 
enemies, comfort and feed them, when they are huntgry or 
thirsty, and thus by well-doing convince them and over- 
come the evil with good. Rom. 12:20,21. 

" 'Finally, that we are to do good in all respects, "com- 
mending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight 
of God," and according to the law of Christ, do nothing 
to others that we would not wish them to do unto us.* 

"I also wish to quote a very few scxiptuTes-.'* Here 


the accused read Matt. 5:43-45, Rom. 12:19, Matt. 10:16, 
also Gal. 5:19-23. 

"In regard to the position ti»at I hold toward Civil 
Government, I vrish to read from the Confession of Faith: 

Article XIII. 
The Office of Civil Government 

" 'We also believe and confess, that God has instituted 
eivil government, for the punishment of the wicked and 
the protection of the pious; and also further, for the pur- 
pose of g-Qverning the world — governing countries and 
cities; and also to ipieserve its subjects in gocKi order and 
under 'good regulations. Wherefore we are not permitted 
to desp^ise, blasipheme, or resist the same; but are to ac- 
knowledge it as a minister of God and be subject and 
obedient to it, in all things that do not militate against 
the law, will, and commandments of God; yea, to be 
ready to ev-ery god work; also faithfully to pay it cus- 
tom, tax. and tribute; thus giving it what is its due; as 
Jesus Christ taught, did Himself, and commanded His 
followers to do. That we are also to pray to the Lord 
earnestly for 'the government and 'its welfare, and in be- 
Tialf of CKur country, so that we may live under its pro- 
tection, maintain ourselves, and 'lead a quiet and peaceable 
life in all godliness and honesty.' And further, that the 
Lord \vour:d recompense them (our rulers), here and in 
-eternity, for all the benefits, liberties, and favors which we 
«njoy under their laudable administration.' 

"The position that I take towards the government and 
the officers of this camp is one of obedience — do what I 
possibly can for them, and hesitate to obey when they 
coinmatid sotnething that I can not do in accordance with 
the teachings oi my Church, and the New Testament, as 
I understand them. We ought to obey God rather than 

"I also wish to state that while at this time we are 
spoken of as not in favor of our country, rather, in many 
instances, as opposing it — ^the reason we take this position 
js not because we are favoring the enemy. It is rather be- 
cause we are standing for a principle of not partici-p-ating 
in war, thait we are opposed to war as a moral issue, and 
-as a New Testament teaching, and that the same position 
has been held by the Church ever since its foundation, 
and while we are holding aloof at this time (persoitally 
I think I apeak in behalf of the entire gfoiip of our 
people) we are sincerely grateful to the authorities that 
ihey have given us the consideration thait they have thus 
far. We are CMiily hoping and longing for the time to 
soon- come that we can do something help-ful to our coun- 
try, beneficial to mankind, and yet in accordance our 


Church and the New TestameiDt, and for tlies« principles 
I am wilHn.g to make any sacrifice in order to do some- 
thin : for humanity, and my country that is in harmony 
with the teachings of Jesus Chrisit." 

Court. "Anyt*hing iutrther?" 

A. "That is all I have to say." 

Court. "Any rei>ly?" 

P. "No." 

The defense had no testimony to offer and no 
further statement to make the judge advocate sub- 
mitted the case without remarks. The court closed 
and finds the accused — Tlie findings were not speci- 
fied in the copy of the court martial trial, but the 
sentence was ten years hard labor at Ft. Leaven- 
worth disciplinary barracks or such place as the re- 
viewing board may designate — followed by a dis- 
lionorable discharge from the United States army. 

It would be interesting to read many more of 
tlie noble defenses made in behalf of the Gospel 
]/rinciplc of nonresistance by others. It should be 
understood that others were just as conscientious 
as Mennonites and stood 'by their convictions with 
equal fortitude. The defense of one such made be- 
fore the court-martial which sentenced him to hard 
labor in the disciplinary barracks of the United 
States is given here: 

"To the best of my know<ledge and belief, no order of 
the President or Secretary of War req-trires or expects 
me to do that which I regard as an act of "sin. I did not 
regard the order (given me) as a larwful order, because 
I could not oibey it without violating the diotates oi my 
conscience and the plain teachings of God's twg'hor law. 
J did not disobey the ord-er in a wilful and ob&tiinate 
manner but as quietly and respectfully as possr'ble. Guilt 
signifies the doing of wrong. In declining to do the mil- 
itary work (given me) I did no more thaai to act in 
accordance with my conscience and deep nehgioois convic- 
tion, and hence I did no wrong. For that reason I am 
not guilty as charged. 

"I do nort believe tliat I am seeking mai'tyr4om. As 
a young maoi, life and its hopes and freedom and op-por- 


tunitfes for service are sweet to me. I want to go out 
into the world and do my work and make use of what 
little talent I may have acquired by long and laborious 
study. Bait I know that I dare not purchase thos« things 
at the price of eternal condemnation. I know the teach- 
ings of Christ my Savior. He taught us to resist not 
evil, to love our enemies, to do good to them that hate us. 
Not only did He teach this but He practiced it in Geth- 
semane, before Pilate, and on Calvary. We would, in- 
deed, 'be hypocrites and base traitors to our profession if 
we rwoi>ld be unwilling to endure the taun/ts and jeers of 
a sinful world, and imprisonment, and the tortures of 
death, rather than to participate in war and military serv- 
ice. We know that obedience to Christ will gain for us 
the prize oi eternal life. We cannot yield, we can not 
compromise, we must suffer. 

"Two centuries aigo our people were driven out of 
Germany by religious persecutors, and they accepted the 
invitation of Wi'lliam Penn to come to his coliony where 
they mi-ght enjoy the blessings of religious libertty which 
he promised them. This religious liberty was later con- 
firmed to us by the Constitution of Pennsylvania and by 
the Constitution of the United States. If those in author- 
ity now see fit to change those fundamental documents, 
and take aWay our privileges of living in accordance with 
the teachings of the Scriptures of God, then we have no 
course "but to endtirc persecurtion as true soldiers of Christ. 
If I haN'e oommitted anything worthy of bonds or of 
death, I do not refuse to suffer or to die. I pray to God 
for s/trcngth to remain ffaithful." 




Many letters were received by parents, pastors, 
and others from our brethren in camp. A few of 
those have been gathered and extracts from them 
will be given here. Others who passed through tri- 
als even more severe were asked since their dis- 
charge to write up their experiences. Some have 
done so, but the larger number of them dwelt much 
more on the care and protection of God than on 
the severity of their trials. One said, "Somehow 
one does not care to remember the hardships and 
does not like to write them. We would rather think 
of the goodness and mercy of God in carrjang us 
through, and forget the unpleasant experiences." 
1 his is a most commendable spirit. One remarkable 
feature of these letters is that there is not one word 
of resentment in them, but there are calls for prayer 
to God for help, not only for the suffering boys, but 
also for their officers and persecutors. 

Many of the young men suffered at the hands 
of noncommissioned officers who tried to compel 
them to accept service of some kind under the 
military establishment. Some were placed into the 
stockades where the other prisoners heaped all kinds 
of abuse upon them. These prisoners held mock 
trials, passed sentences, and proceeded to carry them 
out. They usually consisted of some in^cansistent 


"work, or that the party take a bath of alternate hot 

and cold water, and in some cases where compliance 

HE^as not immediate the party was dragged under the 

shower and the water turned on without removing 

the clothing. It was not uncommon to see the sup- 

|/Osed criminal dragged through the sand with his 

■wet clothes on, then 'brought back and placed under 

the shower until the party became unconscious or so 

l>entimbed that he could scarcely walk. 

Following are a few sample letters. The names 

and home addresses of the writers will be omitted : 

Camip Lee, Va., July i6, 1918. 

Dear Brother 

Today some of us had fhe hardesrt: experience that we 
have ihad since we came to camp. We were cursed, beat- 
en, kicked, and compelled to gio through exercises to the 
extent that a few were unconscious for some minutes. They 
^epl iit up the greater part of ithe afternoon, and then 
tfecjfse w^o could .possibly stand on their feet were com- 
pelled to take cold shower baths. One of the boys was 
Sd'rubbed with a scrubbing brush, using 'lye on him. They 
drew MookI in several places. I understand that tomorrow 
we are to be moved into tents back of headquarters and 
will be coanpletely under the control of the Camp Sanitary 
Detachment wdth the rest of the C. O. boys. So the 
Tongh treatment is over so far as we are concerned, but 
I think that the officials at Washington should be notified 
so that conditions will be better for those who come 

laJter. It was the Company that we were in charge 

of today I certainly do thank God that it is over. 

J believe that I would sooner face the firing s<tuad thian 
-go Jt^rough much more of the same kind of treatment. 
B«1 through it all my conviction is not changed, and I 
irrtend to s-taiwl for what I believe to be right. Pray for 
us that we may hold out faithful to the end. 


« * * * 

I>cair Brcsther : 

I went to Camp Cody, N. Mex., Nov. 7. 1917. The 
sergeant aslked me to go on guard duty. I refused, so he 
'took me to the first lieutenant. The latter began to scold 
«ic, iwhea the commandijig officer took up my case. He 
^aslccd tne some questions apparently ito test my mental 
■capacity, then a'sked me why I refused. I explained that 


it was contrairy to my conscience. He ordered me to take 
th'C '"billy" and walk my beat but should not dare to 
srtrike any one, and I obeyed. .. .Wihen we were fitted out 
with uniforms I was one of the first called, was taken 
outside and made to stand bare-headed for three hooirs 
on the side of a building aigainst which the sun was beating- 
dntenisely, while two hundred fifty men signed up. Then 
they (took me and tried to scare mc with all sorts of threat- 
enin'gs of punishinent, imprisonments, etc. Finally ihey 
called up a sergeant at the stodkade to come and get mc. 
H'C soon came, aud on the way to the stockade, he beat 
me wiith his club. The prisoners made sport of me, then 
gi\'in-g me a mock court-martial trial. They put a rope 
aroun-d my neck and strung me up until 1 was almost 
unconscious. Here I believed that they would kill me, 
'but they let me down and took me to the shower iba/th 
and turned cokl water on me for about ten minutes until 
I was so numb that I could hardly help myself. 

Later I ■v^-'as put ito work, got into a heavy rain, and 
was refused dr>' <:lothes. I took cold which developed into 
influenza-pneumonia. Before I was released from the hos- 
pital help came through relatives writing to higher offi- 
cials. Soon a-fter leaving the hospital, arrangements were 
made for my release from camp, for which I was very 
th'ankful indeed. 

Here is a letter from a young man who was 


willing to take noncombatant service: 

Dear Brother : 

I went to Camp Cody, N. Mex., June 25, 1918. At 
first J drilled without a rifle, but later was aisked to take 
one, explaining that the President's orders con-cern-ing the 
C. O.'s required iit, and I would get into noncosmbatant 
service in due time. I accepted it, and in -two weeks was 
transferred to the infantry where, of course, I v^-aa as^ced 
again to take the rifle, and I saw that I had been deceived. 
J refused and explained why. Several nights after tliis, 
while I was in bed, some privaites threw water into my 
bed, put a rope around my neck and jerked me out on 
the floor. 

The next day two sergeants came to my tervt and took 
mc out, tied a -gun on my sihoulder and marched me down 
the street, one on each side of me. kicking me a'Vl the way, 
I was asked again wherther 1 would take the rifle and 
drill. T refused and was taken to the bath-house, put un- 
der the shower bath w^here they ttvrned on the water, al- 
ternating hot and cold, until I v.-as so numb that I could 


scarcely rise. Just then one of the higher officers came 
in and laisked what they were about. They explained that 
'they were giving me a bath. The officer told me to dress 
and go to my tent, that he wanted to interview me him- 
self. He asiced if I would take a rifle and drill. I told 
him tha;t I could not. He ordered my sergeant to put 
mc on company street work until they got my transfer, 
and in three weeks I was given noncombatant service. 
Very truly Youts 

* * * * 

Camp Greenleaf, Ga., November 9, 1918. 
Deaf Brother: 

I iwant to let you know how things are going here. 
Thursday while I was eating dinner they took my suit- 
case and coTutents, and last evening a>fteir dark they came 
to my tent and took my clothes off except my underwear 
and kept them. The next morning I remained in bed. 
They came in and asked me whether I was sick. They 
took rae out, set me onto a wheel'barrow and hauled me to 
the woods (forty rods or more) land back, and then to 
the supply house where they got a uniform for me. They 
told me to put it on. I said that I could not, so they took 
»t and put it onto the wheelbarrow and told me to wheel 
■it to my tent, which I did. I sat down on the bed in 
my underwear, and soon one of the men came in and put 
the uniform on me. I did not resist. I have it on now 
but it does nat change me any. I am not discouraged, 
but am trusting in God who will care for me. 

From your brother, 

* * * * 


1 went to Camp Greenleaf, Ga., July 2r2, 1918. Was 
asked to sign up for service; I explained that I could not 
do that but would be willing to accept a furlough for farm 
work or for reconstruction work under the Friends. A- 
bout fifteen of us were segregated and put to excessively 
hard labor in order to ma:ke us yield, and about once a 
day they would come around and ask whether we were 
Teady ito give up. Nearly half of them did finally. I 
worked a few days longer, and seeing what they were try- 
ing to do, I refused to work any longer. Sergeaat 

began to beat me, strikinig me with his fists and several 
times with a shovel. I told 'him that I would rather he 
wouJd kill me than to use me up like that. He told the 
g^ard that he should not kill me as I was too anxious to 
die. They still beat me, finally offering me work that they 
claimod was entirely civilian. I accepted, provided thart: it 
I was '2i& tihey said. 

We were kept at very hard labor for about three 
weeks lUDfcil they saw the futility o^ it, and gradually made 


our 'tasks easier ainlil they were on'ly ordinary and li^ht. 
In tbe meantime they ocoasionally took us to headquarters 
and tried to 'get us to sign the pay-^roll, soldier's insurance, 
etc. Finally I had to 'sign the ipay-roll in order to jijct 
ni}' disoharge. ibuit I returned the money to the war «3e- 
partment. All told, it was rather a hard experience- K»Mt 
was profi'taWe from a spiritual standpoint. 


Feb. 8, i(.ijs^jL 

Detar Brother: 

I came home Wednesday eveniu'g, Feb. 5. To> g^vCt 
home, "receive a hearty weikome and many exipress-ions of 
joy for the effort made ito mainta-in the faith, was aiw^e 
worth the hardsihips which we endured. 

I had been gone a few days more than ten mo^ntks, 
of which I spent twenty-four days in ouir company, ten 
days in detention camp, seventy-eight days in the gtianrsd- 
house, one night in the Kansas City Police "lock-ttp,"" ooac 
hundred ninety-seven days in the disciplinary barraaiks 
(Fort Leavenworth, Kans.) and two days on the way- 
home. Compare this with II Cor. 11:23-33, and one woissM 
almost consider that I had only been on a vacation...- 

I do not apiprove of such practices as the world fsras 
engaged in, and will give them neiither moral nor nuaiterial 
support though it may mean impriisonmcnt or even deaXli 
for not doing so. If the army would never kill a nian„ I 
can not see hoiw a person could become a part of it, is'i^'^'- 
ing moral and material support to its maintenance and 
still retain a Christian character. The standards it upholil's 
and the injustices it practices are unbelievable to a maat 
who never saw them.... The only part that I cv.n have in 
the army i's suffering its punishments. The manner awd 
purposes of Christianity are as different as day and nigihiL 
The aims of the army are coercion, terrorism, carnal forirc; 
the ideals of Christianity are love, meekness, gentlenes-s, 
obedience to the will of God, etc. When these ideals arc 
maintained to the best of our ability, by God's grace He 
will provide care and protection in ways not imagined by 

As to noncombatant service; all branches of service 
have one purpose; viz., to make the whole system a stronj^- 
cr organization of terrorism, destruction, and death, WhiiBc 
I would not have 'been directly killing any one, I woriM 
have been doing a man's part in helping another do the 
act, and lending encouragement to the same. To support 
a thing and refuse to do the thing supported is either tsr- 
norance or cowardice. To refuse to go to the trenchrs 
and still give individual assistance to another doiTug- so, iis 
cither an improper knowledge of the issues at stake or 


downright fear to face the bullels. I have a greater con- 
scientious objection against noncombatant than against 
combatant service. I feel that ithe principle is the sam€, 
and ithat both are equally wrong. I u^uld feel guilty to- 
ward the other man to accept service where the danger 

was not so great 

To an observer iit may have seemed ridiculous to re- 
fuse to even plant flowers at the base hospital. In the 
tiTst place, that iwas the duty of the working gang under 
the quartermaster's department. Technically I would not 
have been doing military duty for I had not '^signed up;" 
A irtually I would have been rendering service because I was 
at work.... The farther one went with the military officers 
the farther they demanded him to go. I felt that the farth- 
er I went the less reason I could give for stopping, so I 
concluded that the best place to stop was in the begin- 
ning. It was on the charge of refusing to plant flowers 
that I received my court-martial sentence of ten years of 
hard labor <in the disciplinary 'barracks at Fart Leaven- 
worth, Kans. 

FraternaMy yours, 

* * * * 

U. S. Transport. New York, ^919- 

The miJitary registration of June 5, 191 7, included me, 
and I presented myself for registration, physical examina- 
tion, and entrainment. The whole thing seemed vague and 
far away. On May 24, 1918, when I bade friends and rela- 
tives good'bye and boarded the troop train things became 
very real to me, the only conscientious objector among 
live hundred m-en so far as I knew. 

We arrived at Camp Lewis, Wash., May 28, and were 
assigned to Depot Brigade and permanent kitchen work. 
I refused it and was sent to the guard-house. There I 
went through the most severe physical punishment at the 
hands of noncommissioned oflicers and guards that I ever 
experienced. 1 do not care to recount these abuses. 
Through the efforts of Bro. E. Z. Yoder of Hubbard, Oreg., 
conditions improved. I was in the guard-house forty days. 
Later I was sent to the Cascade Mountains on forest fire 
duty, and finally discharged December, 19 18. I am glad 
for the lessons which I learned divring my seven months 
of camp life, but hope I'll never be cal'led upon to repeat 
them. I have realized the value of this truth: "The eter- 
nal God is thy refuge." I believe thajt I can truly say 
that if I had not been called to camp. I would not be on 
this U. S. transport, on the eve of our departure for Tur- 
key to engage in relief work. 

Yours truly, 


April 19, 1919. 

Dear Brother 

I arrived at Camp McAnthur, Texas, September 7, 
1918. I refused to don the uniform, 'but they made a P'lea 
to send our clothing- to Belgian sufferers, so I exiplained 
thait I would be willing to have that suit sent, but that I 
would not wear the uniform. They said tihat I should put 
it on to go back to my itent and then I could change to 
my other ciWIian suit. This was simply a catch; I was 
not allowed to change. Many persistent efforts were made 
to get me to accept some kind of service. The s-ergeant 
threatened me, and accordang to his own words, would 
have knocked me down witih a club if a higher officer 
would not have prevented him from doing so. 

One officer asked me to accept work or get dotwn and 
pray. I knelt and prayed especially for my persecutors, 
hint was not aJlowed to finish. I was then taken to the 
stockade. The prisoners held a mock trial and sentenced 
me to "twenty-five tosses in the blanket and one hundred 
lashes with a leatiher strap." They immediately gave me 
the tosses and thirty-five lashes. They stopped to rest, 
gagged me, and proceeded to give me the remaining sixty- 
five lashes — ^this ,time using the ibuckle end on me. The 
same evening they held another trial, and this time sen- 
tenced me to five hundred lashes to be given the next 

While carying out this sentence they would stop oc- 
casionally and ask me whether I would work now. Re- 
ceiving a negative answer each time, they 'began again 
until the whole sentence was carried out. Before the third 
evening the authorities had forbidden any more mock 
trials. After a stay of several days more I was asked by 
a lieutenant from headquarters whether I refused to wear 
the uniform and carry a gun, and on my refusal he sent 
me .back to the tent and allowed me to pujt on my civilian 

Refusing again to cut wood for the mess hall, the 
officer called the whole company together and told them 
thajt they could do anything iwith me that they pleased ex- 
cept that they dare not kill me. That night they organized 
and exipected to have some fun with me. The officer in 
charge, fearing results, placed four guards over me. I 
was soon transferred to replacement camp. When ordered 
to do work which I could not conscientiously do, I was 
placed under another goiard. He picked up a stick and 
began to beat me. I was told that I dare not speak to 
any one and no one was aiUowed to speak to me; that I 
was to go to mess ait the rear end of the line and have 
short rations. 

On October 2, I was taken to the base hospital very 
sick with influenza, and was there three weeks. So^me 


time after I was out again 'they tried once more to compel 
me to take service. For my refusal I was pla-ced into 
solitary oon^finement and on a ""bread and water" diet ion: 
twelve days. It was very rainy at that time an<i the roof 
lea-ked. My five by ten foot cell was very damp and I 
was coW day and night. They took my Bible a'way from 
me, bm I 'had a small Testament which they did not find. 
I read mtich of the (time in that. 

Ha>d a court-martial trial November 26, and was sen- 
tenced to five years imprisonment at Fort Leavenworth, 
Kans., btrt was released Jamiary 7, 1919, thanking God for 
my experience but hoping that there would never be con- 
diitions a-gain in this, or any other country, which would 
make it necessary for me or any one e«lse to exiperience 
such things in the future, I am, 

Your brother, 

* * * * 

June 3, 1919. 

Dear Brother: 

I was inducted into the army about March 5, 1918, and 
was first sent to Camp Greenleaf. Ga., where I remained 
more than five months and, of course, had some very hard 
trials. The officers tried to make me work as a soldier, 
and when I refused to work under the miHtary establisih- 
mem they threatened to shoot me, to hang me, etc.; but 
after hearing my reasons for not worklrug, some of the 
officers were very- kind while others did not want to see 
it that way. 

I was transferred to many different companies, and 
on June 15, I was placed into the guard-*house where I 
remained until August 8. Then T was transferred to Camp 
Meade, Md., under the guard oi a m-iHtary police. Here 
I was placed into the stockade where I was tried Hke gK>ld 
in the fire. I was put into the 5weat-box -from dinner un- 
til suprper and then beaten so tha.t I felt the effects for 
more than a week. During all this time came the loving 
words of our Lord, "My grace is sufficient for thee." I 
tried to have them understand that if our Father would 
g-ive me the strength I would not fiindh even if I had to 
suffer. Later I was transferred to the C. O. barracks, 
and about five weeks later received a farm furlough to 
work for a farmer in Lancaster county, Pennsylvania. 
I was here "three and a half months, then called back to 
Camp Meade far discharge from the army. 

Yours truly 

* * * * 

Aipr. 23, 1919. 

Dear Brother: 

I arrired ait Camp Greeleiaf, Ga., Septemiber 8, 1918. 
Tlie nri^it previous -vrsiS spent on the ti^ain and was a new 


experience to me. Wi-ckedness 'was rampant and the ex- 
pressions were v41e indeed, it he worst that I e\^er heard. 
Once in camp we were placed in tents. 1 soon explained 
my position to several O'f the officers, stating that I could 
not drill nor even work oinder the military establishment. 
One of them said, "Man, yom will be proud of yourself." 
The two hundred fifity men in our company soon knew me, 
and in passing their tents I would ihear shouts of "Shoot 
him," "Hang him," "Give us a sermon," "Come in and 
pray for us," "He won't fight," "He is yellow," and many- 
other unpleasant statements 

As the company stood in lines for mess, some one 
would give the signal that the "preacher" was there and 
then all would ihurl some uncomfortable exipre^sions at me. 
Rather than sufTer this I missed many meais. Numerous 
officers tried to get me to see things from their point of 
view. I explained my position, but much ais I longed for 
symipathy I got none-. While waitinig in the examination 
haill one day, half a dozen lieutenants asked me a great 
many questions. They praised me for 'being "so bright," 
but could not undersitand how one having such a "sound 
mind" could tafke such a position. One of them who pre- 
tended to be a Q-uaker, said, "One time I (believed mucB 
as you do, but I know better now." 

I 'was asiked to don the imiform, and on refusing they 
put it on me and sent my clothes home. I was asked 
again to drill but refused. Two men pulled me out of 
my tent and held me in tihe ranks trying to make me keep 
step. They tranuped my toes and kicked me. This treat- 
ment was kept up for about two weeks, but finding it of 
no avail they let me go. Scoldings and cursings were fre- 
quent. I was asiked to help carry out several men on 
stretchers who were sick with influenza. I did so, but 
the Lord ip re served me so that I did not giet it. 

One day a sergeant took me to the bath ihouse and 
tried to compel me to accept some kind of service. He 
slapped me in the face, struck me repeatedly with his fists, 
and would catch me so that I would not fall. He would 
wring my nose, pull my hair, and strike my head against 
the wall. He kept up this treatment for some time but 
when ihe saw that I would neither defend myself nor 
yield to accepting service he let me -go. I had a black eye 
and a swollen face for a week or more. 

Later I was placed with the other C. O.'s and in abotit 
four weeks from that time the armistice was signed. A 
little later I was transferred to Camp Shenman (O.) and 
soon discharged. I learned many valuable Wessons in camp 
which are helpful to my religious cxpeTiejice, but I am 
perfectly wilKn-g to have no more triaJs of the sarae kind 


if that is sartisfactory to my Lord. Praise Him for His 
keeping^ and protection, 

Y<mr brother, 

Mock court-martial trials were not all held by 
prisoners. Even soldiers who were not prisoners 
and officers were sometimes guilty. In one camp in 
the central west several young men were placed with 
other C. O.'s who had been in camp longer or were 
segregated from the other soldiers. One of their 
number was sick and in the hospital when the trans- 
fer was made. When he got out again, he asked for 
an interview with the captain, which was refused. 
Two days later he was called, when the following 
conversation took place: 

Captain. "Some of the boys have accepted the 
uniform and work. I have made them first class 
privates, I'll make you a sergeant. Will you accept?" 

C. O. "No, sir.^' 

Captain. "You are up for a discharge, but I'll 
not sign it unless you put on the uniform and ac- 
cept work." 

C. O. "I think more of my religion than of such 
a discharge." 

Captain. "You are very foolish. All we can do 
is to put you into the guard-house and await further 

The man was put into the guard-house for two 
days on a bread and water diet, then let out. One 
night at 10:30 he was called and asked whether he 
was willing to accept service, which he refused. 

Captain. "Here is an order with Secretary Ba- 
ker's name attached, *A11 C. O.'s hereafter shall be 
tried and punished as the court-martial may direct.' " 

The young man was asked whether he knew 


vv^hat this meant. He answered in the affirmative, 
but stated that he was willing to take the conse- 
quences, still bdiev^ing it to be a "bluff." 

Captain. "You know, army orders change, and 
you may get your witnesses.'* * 

C. O. "I do not want any witnesses. I am 
not here for any criminal offense." 

At 4:30, the next morning he was called and 
asked whether he had sent for his witnesses. On 
receiving a negative answer, the officer ordered a 
court-martial which was held. A major with tears 
(?) in his eyes read, "The prisoner is guftty of vio- 
lating the ninety-sixth article of war, and the deci- 
sion of the jury is, — death." He was hand-cuffed, 
t:iken to the brow of a hill by one lieutenant, one 
sergeant, and four soldiers. 

Sengeant. "Show this man your loaded guns." 

This was done and six bright cartridges came 
in sight. 

Sergeant. "They are all red hot and made to 

Lieut. "Have you anything to say?" 

C. O. "Nothing." 

Lieut. "You have fifteen minutes to live. — ten 
— five — three. Time is up, ready, aim, fire," but no 
shot was fired. After a silence of several minutes 
which seemed like hours, the lieutenant said, "We've 
decided to let you go until morninig. We do not 
want to kill you." In the morning he was called 
before the offiicer again. 

Captain. "Have you thought over this matter?" 

C. O. "Yes, I certainly have ; you would too 
if you had been in my place." 

Captain. "Good, What is your decision?" 


C. O. "Still the same as before, God helping 

Captain. "All right, take him to the division 

The C. O. was then taken in the captain's car 
and landed at the C. O. barracks — the happiest man 
in the lot. You say, "O, that -was simply a mock 
trial." True, but the young man did not know it. 
To him it was real. 

While the experiences given here were aM those 
of brethren of the main branch of Mennonites, oth- 
ers from other branches and even other denomina- 
tions had experiences equally severe, and some of 
them being conscientious to the extent that they 
would not even keep their living places clean, were 
made to suffer cruel tortures. Possibly none of the 
Mennonite branches suflFered more severely than the 
Hutterites. They will be referred to in a later chap- 

From these letters several things are evident: 

First, that while some of the officers were very 
cruel and acted in very bad faith, they were not all 
so, as some officers gave respectful consideration to 
those who because of religious convictions could 
have no part in the military machine. 

Second, that the officers in a great many cases 
had no regard for truth ; that no matter how great 
the deception, they had no convictions against using 
it if it served their purpose of ''putting the young 
man acrosis." 

Third, that no difference how the objector was 
caused to make a statement, and regardless of the 
disadvantage to the young man when the truth be- 
came known, he was expected to make his word 


good, and if he did not, he was charged with in- 

Fourth, that as much as possible the tests were 
made individually, because it was easier to get one 
to yield when alone than when several were to- 

Fifth, that the officers in many oases delighted 
in the a-buses which were heaped upon the C. O. 
rather than to try to prevent such injustices, even 
though the latter was their p^laiin duty. 

Sixth, that so little did some of the officers know 
about true Christian conviction that they supposed 
it could be broken, just as stubbornness could in the 
obdurate, not realizing that when one had been made 
to go against religious convictions and better knowl- 
edge, a most serious damage had been done to char- 
acter — more serious than killing a man who remains 
true to his God and his conscience. 

Seventh, that a willlingness to accept noncom- 
batant service as provided for by Government did 
not always prevent cruel treatment from those in 

Eighth, that hard as some of these things were 
to bear, they led many of the young men to higher 
standards of spiritual life, at least for the time being 
— and how sad it would be if that spirituality should 
be 'lowered by pride m their accomplishments. iVIay 
God protect these young men and keep them hum- 
ble, so that they may be useful as well — ^and may 
His grace be extended to those who failed to stand 
the test. "We know that all things work together 
for good to them that love God." 



There are three disciplinary camps in the United 
States. They serve the same purpose for the sol- 
dier who receives a prison sentence as the Federal 
prison does for the civil transgressor. There is 
scarcely a time when there are no military prison- 
ers, and during a war there are naturally many more 
than in times of peace. 

One of these camps is on Governor's Island, N. 
Y., another on Alcatraz Island, Calif., and the re- 
maining one is at Fort Leavenworth, Kans. Because 
of the bitter complaints regarding the treatment re- 
ceived by the prisoners at one of the other camps, 
all conscientious otbjectors at the other two places 
were transferred to the last named place, hence our 
account will apply only to Fort Leavenworth and 
the prisoners there. 


Something of the size of the barracks may be 
grasped when we hear them speak in terms like the 
following: "The sixth wing;" "There are five hun- 
dred prisoners in this wing;" "There are more than 
three thousand prisoners in these barracks;" "About 
eighteen hundred of us ate in the mess hall at one 
time ;" etc. 


"Going to Leavenworth" 

After the court-martial sentence had been passed 
the party was considered a criminal. On the way 
from camp to the disciplinary barracks, or from one 
of these prisons to another, at first there was no 
difference shown in favor of those who were sen- 
tenced because of a religious conviction against war 
and the greatest desperado. They were hand-cuffed, 
and in some cases hands and feet were manacled at 
night. Some of those who were taken there later 
were not even hand-cuffed. Those who were taken 
to Fort Leavenworth from the east were kept in the 
Kansas City police "lock-up," provided a continued 
journey would bring them to their destination late 
at night. Several of the Camp Taylor C. O.'s spent 
one night there. Imagine the walls of that building 
re-echoing as the boys sang from memory such songs 
as "Faith of our fathers," and "O my soul, bless thou 
Jehovah." It must have given the police a new 
On Arrival 

Once inside the large iron gates, and they se- 
curely barred, with guards standing around all well 
jirmcd, the hand-cuffs were removed. It was neces- 
sary for the prisoner to register, to give the name 
and address of his nearest relative, and receive a 
number; for hereafter he is hardly considered worthy 
()\ a name but is known entirely by number. All 
this was done in the office just inside the gate. Here 
he gave up all his belongings, even down to comb, 
handkerchief, and toothpicks. 

Getting Prison Clothes 

The prisoner was then taken to the store room 


where ihe removxd every bit of clothing and i^laced 
it on a pile, then went to the next attendant who 
fitted him out with prison clothes. Some of these 
clothes had 'been worn by former prisoners but were 
thoroughly sterilized before being given out again. 
The clothes were of the plainest possible cut, only 
one pook-et being allowed in the trousers in which the 
regulation blue handkerchief was carried. Occasion- 
ally a shirt or a jacket harl a pocket, but they were 
not supposed to have. Hut why should a prisoner 
have other pockets? He was not supposed to carry 
anything else. 

The Prisoner's Probation 

The prisoner was next taken to the basement of 
the fourth wing for confinement, this being the only 
iock-cell-wing in the prison. If he showed signs of 
reform (Imagine how this a])j)lied to some of the 
most consecrated young men in the Church) he 
would soon be allowed more privileges, but for the 
time being he was kept at work under guard con- 
stantly while not at mess or in his cell. Very soon 
his "nearest relative" received .some blanks to be 
filled out, a-sking such (|ueslions as: "How often has 
the prisoner been arrested and for what?" "Is he 
accustomed to getting drunk?'' "Are any of his an- 
cestors habitual intoxicants?" and a nurrtber of other 
(|UCStions just as inapplicable to i)eople of this class. 
But it should be remembered that in order to keep 
peace among so many there must needs be uniform- 
ity of treatment and questions. If the report was 
favorable and the prisoner was well behaved he was 
given a "star parole" and was allowed to work (jn 
the dair>% poultry, or hog farm. If it became evident 


that the prisoner was safe to put among other pris- 
oners, he was soon put into another wing where the 
cells were open and the prisoners were allowed to 
commingle. This was not always an advantage. A 
CI notation from a political objector will show very 
clearly that he did not consider it so. He says : 
^'Communication from one floor to another is open. 
This leaves about eighty men free to roam around 
the section at night, for all sorts of devilry. As 
there are many who have bad records in civil life 
you will not be surprised at the conditions which ob- 
tain here, where I have to sleep and spend my 
extra time. Dope fiends, auto thieves, burglars, and 
....are quite common. They are very nice to the 
C. O.'s, and will do anything for us, but just living 
with them is dangerous enough. Their filthy lan- 
guage and dirty stories from the lowest underworld 
are enough to drive a man crazy. One can not read 
or think because of the constant stream of filth." 
Another writes, "I feel that a few years ol this kind 
of confinement would make a mental or a physical 
wreck of the best kind of a man. We can not be too 
deeply concerned about those who are still there." 
The jeopardy is increased by the fact that some of 
the most loathsome and contagious diseases are 
found in these men which endangers the health of 
the prisoners. 

Prison Precautions 

These prisoners were expected to work, and for 
the first few days they were assigned to work within 
the compound in order that they might be near when 
wanted at the office, for they were not yet ready to 
be turned to work in the fields with the ''gang." 


Every precaution was used so that in case a prisoner 
got away he might be caught again. Their finger 
prints were taken, their number placed on the front 
of each trouser leg, on the back of their shirts, coats, 
and raincoats. A card with the number on it was 
placed under the chin and a photograph taken. The 
picture with all the information regarding the pris- 
oners was taken to the Rogue's Gallery in the Fed- 
eral prison. With these precautions, his prison 
clothes only, and the many guards, little hopes could 
be had of escaping and not being found. 

Prisoner's Rights 

From that time the prisoner's rights were few. 
If he made complaint of ill treatment the under offic- 
ers usually gave some answer of contempt, such as. 
*'If you had behaved you would not be here," or, 
**A11 that is the matter with you is that you are out 
of luck." Patients in the hospital were given sim- 
ilar answers. All these could be borne by the relig- 
ious objectors, but for people who were resentful — 
and many of the prisoners were — these things bred 
intense hatred toward the officials; and what is a 
great deal worse, against the government, for there 
is where the blame ultimately lands. 

Psychopathic-Psychologic Board 

This board was expected to make a close study 
of the individual character of all prisoners and de- 
cide on the possibility of a reformation. The mem- 
bers of the board asked a number of questions of 
which the following is a partial list: "Were your 
parents ever insane?" ''Have you any relatives in 
the penitentiary?" "Have you any relatives in the 
poor-house?" "Were your parents ever alcoholics?" 


"Did they use other drugs, opium, morphine, etc.?'* 
"How many times were you arrested before?" "What 
other names have you used at various times in your 
hfe?" "What is 30ur naval or military experience?" 
"How many court-martial trials have you had?" 
"What were your employments in civil life?" "W>re 
you ever discharged?" "W^iy?" "Are you married?'* 
"Do you want to live with your wife?" "Does she 
want to live with you?" "How long did you go to 
school?" "Were you ever expelled?" "Why did you 
cjuit?" "Do you think that your court-martial was 
fair?" "Do 3'ou admit your guilt?" "Are you sorry 
for what you did?" "Do you want to be restored to 
duty and be a good soldier?" Imagine how these 
questions would apply to some of the noble Chris- 
tian young men, at least one of whom was an or- 
dained minister in the Mennonite Church, or to some 
who had their A. B. degrees from college and were 
leaders in Christian work in their home congrega- 
tions. But here again it must be remembered that 
the tests would be much the same to all, as one of 
the best means of keeping the unruly quiet; again, 
that the principle to which these nonresistant young 
men held was not understood by the examiners any 
more than it was by the officials or the soldiers in 
the army. 

The classification of the religious objectors ac- 
cording to "rule and rote of the army officer" was 
not an easy job. Here is one case: A member of the 
examining board thought that all men could be class- 
ified on their i)ast records and their education. He 
called a certain Mennonite into his room. The officer 
gave him a mere glance but looked closely at some 
papers before him and said, "You have finished a 


college course and have done some post graduate 
work. You have held a good position in an institu- 
tion of higher learning;" then without lifting his 
eye^ from the paper he said, "What business do you 
have to be a C. O.'' The brother made no reply. 
The officer said, "Eh?" Again no reply because the 
officer had been profane in his questioning and he 
waited for a respectable question. After a long si- 
lence the officer said, "What do you mean by class- 
ifying yourself with this ignorant, dull, and illiterate 
crowd ?'* 

The C. O. "Sir, I think your characterization is 
quite inaccurate. The C. O.'s compare quite favor- 
able with the average soldier." (Here the C. O. 
intended to refer the officer to the psychological test 
at Camp Taylor, where the C. O. company made a 
record twenty per cent higher than the next best 
company in the camp, but the officer cut him short.) 

Officer. "We have the figures and know what 
we are talking about. It is not so queer that such 
illiterate fellows should have such narrow-minded 
\iew> about war. but here you are — been going to 
bchool for many years, at good schools too, where 
I am .^ure they w^ould not teach any such notions. . . . 
and you have been teaching. Haven't you been able 
to get away from such narrow, petty notions about 
religion ?** 

C. O. "No sir, 1 do not allow myself to be 
swayed by the opinions of others unless I am con- 
vinced. I never agreed with the majority." 

Officer. (Disgustingly) "O you never agreed 
with anything." 

C. O. "I say I never agreed with the majority 
on a number of moral questions. I never approved 


the use of tobacco or liquors, and even while in 
school I was opposed to joining college fraternities, 
going to dances, playing cards, etc. — " (but the of- 
ficer had gotten more information already than he 
wanted and dismissed his party. 

These experiences are given at some length to 
show the methods used by officials, and to show that 
the C. O. could not be placed into any of their out- 
lined classes. He was a puzzle in camp, and no 
less so here. 

ShaU he Work? 

As stated, these men were expected to work. 
They had refused to woric in camp; shall they work 
here? Each one solved that question for himself. 
A few from some of the smaller branches of Menno- 
nites refused to work and suffered the consequences 
which as a rule were, ''the solitary." But why 
should they work here and not in camp? Most of 
them decided this question on the following basis: 
They were no longer considered as soldiers, for in 
their court-martial they were dishonorably discharg- 
ed from the army (Being a part of the army was 
one of their principal objections to working in 
camp) ; the work was not military, and did not pro- 
duce military products more than any other farm; 
it was not furnishing any money for the support of 
the war, for it was reported as not self-supporting. 
A number of the C. O.'s went there with a full de- 
termination not to do military work even under 
prison discipline, but on investigation believed that 
they could work here without violating any Gospel 


Gang Work 

After the first few days the prisoners were sent 
out in gangs of possibly five under a guard who was 
well armed to work on the farm during the day, to 
be brought in for their meals and for the night. 
The guard was held responsible for any one who got 
away; hence he wanted them constantly in sight and 
did not want more than the proverbial five. One of 
these guards was given charge of ten men, all of 
whom were C. O.'s, and complained to the officer 
over him that it was dangerous and unjust to be 
held responsible for so many. He was very nervous 
for a Avhrle, but soon became more and more confi- 
dent, and in time permitted his men to go about their 
work without making any effort to keep them in his 
sight. In a gang of forty or more men which in 
time was composed entirely of C. O.'s the guards 
were reduced gradually until there was only one, and 
he slept much of the time. The boys proved that 
they could be trusted. In fact, the officers believed 
these young men more than they believed each other. 
The overseer of one of these farms was quite en- 
thusiastic about making his farm a success, and be- 
came discouraged when he heard that the C. O.'s 
were to be discharged and that he must again depend 
on criminal labor. He could not trust the latter 
class and did not expect the amount nor the quality 
of work which he had been getting. 

Star Parole 

Most of the Mennonite boys received star pa- 
roles after they had worked with the gangs for a 
time. They were not kept under guard after that, 
but were assigned some certain work fen* which they 


were held responsible. They must report regularly, 
but their work was so far away from the barracks 
that frequently they would not get back more than 
once a week. Some of them slept in a barn near 
where their work was. 


After a murder had been committed the C. O.'s 
were scattered promiscuously among the other pris- 
oners. In cells occupied by six men, anywhere from 
one to four may have been C. O/s. No one had any 
choice as to who his room-mate should be. Thus 
the vilest and the best in the prison might easily 
have been required to live in the same cell. This 
was a trial. Think of these young men, clean in hab- 
it and language, being placed with those having 
loathsome diseases, and who were vile in body and 
mind, and who had very little regard for human life. 
With all this these wicked men respected the Chris- 
tians for trying to live clean lives in such a vile 
place. One of the C. 0.\s said, "The prisoners 
would do anything for us." This does not corres- 
pond with the Kansas City papers some time in 
December, 1918, when they stated that the C. O.'s 
were a real problem for the prison administration to 
handle ; that they were hated in the army and by the 
prisoners at Leavenworth ; that the latter were con- 
stantly finding ways to show their contempt toward 
the poor, deluded boys; that it had been necessary 
to segregate the C. O.'s to avoid clashes between 
them and the other prisoners ; that the C O.'s were 
responsible for fig'hts, riots, and strikes. One young 
man said, "I was at Fort Leavenworth during two 
of the disturbances, and am in a position to say that 


no religious C. O. was connected with either; and I 
am very confident that none were involved in any- 
thing like that after I left." The same in substance 
has come to us direct from a half dozen other young 
men who had been prisoners there. But if the 
officials believed the C. O/s more than they did each 
other, there seems to be no reason why we should 
not do likewise. 


The meals were fair in quantity, but not always 
in quality. They followed a regular routine. That 
is to say, the menu for Monday noon was the same 
each Monday noon except when that chanced to be 
a holiday and so with all the other meals. The pris- 
oners always knew what to expect. At regular in- 
tervals all new-comers were seized with griping 
pains in the bowels for which the food was blamed, 
but in course of time they seemed to become im- 
mune to these disorders. 

Overcrowded Conditions 

It is not easy to realize the difficulties experi- 
enced by "the full house." There was room for 
eighteen hundred when the prison was all in use. 
Commander Rice received word to prepare to take 
care of five thousand, but how was he to do this? 
Everything was arranged and equipped for about 
one-third that many. Beds could be placed in the 
corridors, but that was not desirable. Arrangements 
could he made to eat at different hours so that the 
same dining hall could accommodate twice as many 
ss could get to the tables at once, but that would 
be a source of dissatisfaction — but what with regard 
to the hospitals? This increase in numbers at the 


prison would tax that department to its utmost. 
Then came the influenza. An effort to describe is 
useless. No wonder that some of the prisoners did 
all in their power to keep out of that place, and 
some suffered severely simply because they did not 
report actual conditions. This crowded condition 
also meant that patients could not always have the 
care that they should have had. 

The Solitary 

This was the most dreaded place in all the dis- 
ciplinary barracks of the nation. At Alcatraz this 
was possibly thirty feet below the surface of the 
earth. At Fort Leavenworth it was not so deep but 
was deep enough to be quite dark. When some one 
refused to obey orders he was likely to be sentenced 
to the solitary. Here they were put on a bread and 
water ration for two weeks then on full rations for 
another two weeks and so on. This was done with 
a view of breaking the will of the supposed culprit. 
Young men from several of the smaller branches of 
Mennonites who refused to work because they had 
conscientious scruples against aiding an>i:hing that 
was connected with the military establishment were 
sentenced to the '*hole," as the solitary was common- 
ly called. Possibly the most cruelly treated were the 
four Hutterites — Jacob Wipf, David, Michael and 
josei)h Hofer. They spent four and a half days in 
the Alcatraz solitary without any food and only a 
?. half glass of water every twenty-four hours. At 
iiight they slept on the cold, damp concrete floor 
without any blankets, and during the day, with their 
hands through the bars of the prison so high that 
they could stand on the floor with difficulty, the 


hand-cuffs were fastened on and they were required 
to stand there for nine hours each day. In course 
of time these four men were transferred to Fort 
Leavenworth. Being required to wait for some time 
after reaching the prison, and being sweated on their 
arrival, two of them (Michael and Joseph) took a 
severe cold which developed into pneumonia and 
both died in the hospital. The father, the two wid- 
ows of the dead men, David Hofer and Jacob Wipf 
remain to tell the story. The two wives and the 
father hurried to the scene as soon as they found 
out that they were sick. Sorrow fills their hearts, 
but it is the sorrow of pity and forgiveness. No 
words of bitterness, no spirit of hatred is heard or 
seen. Rather the prayer of the Master is manifest, 
"Father, forgive them for they know not what they 

The Attitude at Washington 

From the beginning it was evident that the gov- 
ernment at Washington was inclined to be lenient 
toward those who had received a court-martial sen- 
tence because of religious scruples, and quite a 
number had been released from the disciplinary bar- 
racks. Finally the board of inquiry came to Fort 
Leavenworth and examined the C. O.'s with a view 
of finding out those who were sincere. Those who 
had united with a nonresistant church before this 
country entered into the war, and were able to con- 
vince the board that they believed the doctrines of 
their church were asked but very few questions. 
Those who were not so clear, or had united with the 
Church only a short time before going to camp, 
were examined quite carefully. It is generally con- 


ceded that the board wanted to be fair. As a result 
of this examination, one hundred thirteen were given 
their discharge in one da}'. The public was not pre- 
pared for such a wholesale release, newspapers crit- 
icised the war department very severely, and one of 
the legislatures in a western state passed a resolu- 
tion showing its disapproval and disgust. As a re- 
sult releases were not so general after that, but so 
far as known at this writing every Mennonite has 
been released. Another kindness of the department 
was that the religious conscientious objectors re- 
ceived the middle discharge rather than the lowest 
or dishonorable discharge, as required by the court 
martial sentence. 

A Retrospect 

Many of the experiences of the C. O.'s were very 
trying, but praise God for the courage which was 
manifested. A little compromise in camp might have 
lessened their trials and have kept them from the 
disciplinary barracks, but it was a case of "Choosing 
rather to suffer affliction. . . .than to enjoy the pleas- 
ures of sin for a season." As a rule, the record of 
the brethren was good, both in camp and in prison, 
and it was very evident that they made their influ- 
ence felt, both with the officials and with the prison- 
ers by proving that the religion of Jesus Christ could 
be lived as well as professed; under adverse circum- 
stances as well as in the home and the Church. A 
great blessing came to many at that time and has 
ever since been a means of strength to them, while 
others who suffered equally severe trials and stood 
bravely for the right were blest as much as their 
brethren, only to lose it afterwards, and all because 


they could not stand the praise of men. They 
preached to others by their actions but have since 
shown a spirit different from the lowly Nazarene 
and their influence which they might have continued 
to exercise, is gone. We praise God that this does 
not apply to the majority, and we pray that it never 



False Patriotism 

Many trials were caused by the war, not the 
least of which were suffered at the hands of people 
who did their nefarious work under the name of 
patriotism, not realizing that instead of working for 
and with the government they were hindering it and 
actually aiding the enemy. Besides, mob rule never 
accomplishes permanent good. The very purpose of 
a mob is to perform some unlawful act and as a 
rule is made up in part of the worst elements in 
the community. Men are not normal at such times 
and one never knows what to expect. 

President Wilson asked the people of this coun- 
try 'to refrain from all mob violence, but in spite of 
the request during the drives for the Y. M. C. A., 
Red Cross, Liberty Bonds, etc., mobs were quite 
frequent. At first private homes, business places, 
and church buildings were daubed with yellow paint. 
Such expressions as, "Slacker," "You love the Kai- 
ser," "You are stingy," and other things of a worse 
character were written on the doors and windows. 
Like other cowardly acts, these things were usually 
done at night. 

These acts were intended to anger, to cause 
some unbecoming remarks, and immediate actio* to 


remove the paint. In most cases where it was put 
on church buildings it was simply left. One church 
thus daubed had a large Sunday school conference 
in it which brought all classes of people to the meet- 
ing. The paint was still on. Public sentiment 
branded it as a disgrace to the community, and the 
paint became a reprimand to those who put it there. 
Several brethren in Jasper County, Mo., received 
yellow slips of pajper with the following printed on 
them : 

You have been reported to the ALL AMERICAN 
SQUAD as a person who has failed in your obligation. 

This committee does not tolerate SLACKERS. Do 
your full duty to your country NOW! Or get out of Jas- 
per Coxmty or suffer the consequences. 

It would have been more in keeping with the 
spirit manifested in the paper, as well as the way 
they were sent out to have used the word **mob" 
instead of squad. 

As the feeling became more intense, mobs were 
more frequent and more violent. It is sad to know 
that some of our brethren who plead conscientious 
scruples against the support of war measures, when 
they were facing the mob supplied with tar and 
feathers or a rope, or both, they yrelded to buying 
war papers or donating to some war charity. In 
some cases they claimed that they yielded because 
some of the other members of the family plead so 
hard, but whatever the cause, they yielded to that 
which they felt yvas wrong, or they were not true in 
making the claim of conscientiousness against it. An 
oppprtuni'ty was lost, but let us cover it all with 


the mantle of charity. Both the perpetrators of the 
deeds and those who yielded need our sympathy. At 
the same time let us look closely to the admonition 
cf Paul, "Considering thyself, lest thou also be 

A few experiences are given herewith. They 
are taken from widely dififerent localities and show 
the different methods used. No one claims perfec- 
tion for the sufferers nor are these things recorded 
here to hold them up as objects of glory and virtue. 
You may see some weakness in their actions, but in 
most cases decisions had to be made quickly and 
under very unfavorable circumstances. Two things 
shouW be considered: First, one is not quite sure 
what he will do under pressure, hence the need of 
being thoroughly grounded in Christ Jesus so that 
character is so deeply rooted that only the right 
thinci: will be done even if there is no time for care- 
ful, premeditated decision; Second, in many cases at 
least some of these perpetrators are known. Many 
of them have had time to consider their actions and 
are now thoroughly ashamed of them — and surely 
they should be ashamed — but the highest good will 
l^e attained by showing that there is absolutely no 
ill feeling harbored but that all persecutors have been 
tnllv forgiven. The following speak for themselves: 

Feb. 24, 1919. 

Dear Brother M 

] \va.- a.s4c€d several times dnri-ng the Uberty loan cam- 
])aiprn to buy bonds....! g^ave the same reasons for re- 
fusing to buy in every interview — that I couW not possibly 
loan money to carry on war any more than I could .^zive 
my hoy or po myself. 

The next to the last day of the fourth drive, five or 
six men came to our home and when the ■girls told them 


that I was not ait home they seemed very an-gry. They 
left -paipers and sarid that I must si'gn them and send tihem 
that day so they would get them dn the morning. I ig- 
nored them, and on Saturday we thoug-ht that we were 
through the trial ior this time; but about seven o'clock in 
the evening three automobiles came, and four men came to 
the door. When my wife opened it they bolted in, and 
one of the men began to use abusive language and to say 
that I had refused just as long as I could, that the time 
had come when I must. I tried to rea-son but got little 
chance to have a say until I flatly refused. Several shots 
were then fired outside, and one of the men went to the 
door and called, "Come on, George." Then two or three 
others and "George" came in. He threw off his overcoat, 
laid his revolver on a chair and shouted and stormed like 
a mad man, callinig me all the abusive names that came 
to his mind, sueh as. "liar," "thief," "slacker," "pro-Ger- 
man," "income-tax-dodger." "dirty dog," etc. 

Amon^ them was one who claimed to be an officer 
from Wasihingrton, sent to see whether these men did their 
work rig-ht, amd he sat down beside my wife ur.ging her 
to try to persuade me to buy, as there was tio telling what 
they will do, for they were making all kinds of threats — 
to tar and feather me, take me to jail, drive away my cat- 
tle, burn my barn, and compel my boy to take up military 
service, etc. 

The officer pretended to check them at times but they 
told him to keep quiet till they were through, then he 
should have his say. When his turn came he asked us to 
go into another room where he began to "taffy" us and 
said that I should sign iifp this note for five thousand dol- 
lars, and that I might write across the end of the note, 
"To be used for Belgian relief work," and promised that it 
would be used for that. I decided to do tha^t since it was 
to be i>sed for relief. After that they treated me fine. 
They deplored the necessity of doing su'h work, buit said 
that it must be done or Germany would come over here 
and destroy our property, take our men, drive out our 
women and children. We to^ld them tha'^ was just what 
they threatened to do. and asked where the difference was. 
They claimed to be hungry. My wife told them that our 
Bible teaches us to feed our enemies, and that if they 
would waJ»t she would get su-pper for thearu But they re- 

Your brotsher 

* * * * 

June 3, 1919. 

Dear Brother, Greeting: , 

After the bond drives became quite insistent I re- 
ceived same threatening notices that unless I supported all 


these war measures I would suffer for it. I always g'ave 
Gospel reasons for not doing so, but showed ithia^t I gave 
freely to war sufferers through our own Church channels 
and througih the Friends. 

About the middle of April. 1918, I was called by tele- 
phone .by a government officer at Kansas City, demanding 
my reasons for not suipporting war meiaisures. I gave him 
the same reply that I did the others. On April 22, a flag 
was nai'led to our church, and that nigh/t about two o'clock, 
,possdbly fifty masJced men drove into the yard o^f my 

former home, then occupied by my son, C . The mob 

called him out oi <bed and asked where I lived and several 
questions about the flag. Then they compeUed ihim to re- 
move his underwear and smeared him over with tar after 
which they applied the feat her a 

They next went to the church and daitbed the door 
and steps with tar, after which they came to my house 
and called me to the door. Two men grabbed me and 
pulled me out. Tthey demanded that I buy bonds and sup- 
port the Red Cross and other war measiires. I replied 
that I could not conscientiously do that burt would g'ive to 
war sufferers through channels not under military control. 
I was then tarred and feathered and left wiith threats of 
a repetiition if I did not support war measures. 

On the nig-ht of June 3, a second mob of thirty-five or 
forty came to my home, called mc out and ifflireatened to 
pound me to ipieces, using most abusive and ungodly lan- 
guage. They demanded that I sign a check at once for 
tht Red Cross. Because of the condition of my wife, who 
was nearly prostrated, and who at this writing is still 
suffering froan ithe s-hock, I signed a check for fiity dol- 
lars for the Red Gross, but stopped payment on it in the 
morning. The next day, in company with one of our 
bishops, I met our bamker and the county officials of the 
drive, and they agreed to accept a check for the Friends 
Reconstruction Service. I gave them a check for seventy- 
five dollars. I thought that this would settle the matter; 
but on the night of Jurne 10. another masked m-ob of about 
twenty-five came to my home and called me out. They 
said that they would daub my entire premises wTt;h "dope" 
if I did not promise to support war measures. On my re- 
fusal they ransacked the house from cellar to garret. They 
tooik my watch and whajt inoney they foui>d. They daubed 
my new house with yellow paint, inside and out, and did 
the same to the automobile. They tore off my underwear, 
struck me a dozen times or more wnth a large strap, 
bruising my flesh and cutting the skin open. I was diragged 
to the barn and abused, a^fter which they a^pplied carboline 
rooming paint ito my body followed by 'featiier.%. Tlie car- 
bolic acid in the paint made me very sore, amd my body, 


face, and hands -were badly swollen. I was lefl with the 
•threat that they would hang me the next time. 

The men then went to the home of my son, C , 

and used him in a similar manner, ransa<:king 'the house, 
daubing it and the automobile with yellow paint, and ap- 
plyin.g carboHne and feathers to his body. 

Yours in His service, 

* * * * 

Ap-ril 24, 1919. 

Dear Brother , Greeting: 

A very unfortunate thing occurred in our communiity 
•between an over enthusiastic patriotic school teacher and 
some pupils with reference to saluting the flag. This cre- 
ated considerable prejudice which spread from school to 
school. .. .When the different drives came on we were 
watched very dosely, especially leaders. Newspapers mis- 
represented our position. I was visited only a few times 
by solicitors and usually when my position was stated it 
was accepted and respected, but one came who held a 
•prominent position, and he would not be con\-inced; failing 
in his imdertakings, determined to get even some way. 
He created still more envy and hatred. 

We endea^'lored to do our part by givring liberally for 
relief work through our own channels. When the fourth 
liberty loan drive came, we took bank certificates in lieu 
of bonds in an amount equal to our supposed share of 
the third and fourth loans. After the si-gning of the arm- 
ris^^tice another drive was made, and on November 15 a 
solicitor came to my home. I wrote him a check for ten 
•dollars and filled out my card, designating that my money 
should be used for the support of the Salvation Army 
work. That miight about nine o'clock a mob came, con- 
sisting of forty or fifty men, unmasked, crowded around 
the door and rapped. I opened the door wide. The lead- 
er admitted that I had given t-o the cause but claimed it 
was not enough, and demanded a check for one hundred 
dollars. I tried to reason with them and showed that I 
bad done more than my share. They began to hiss and 
gnash at me, took hold of me and pulled me out into the 
j^ard. With the crowd and a part of my family airound me 
the cQnversation continued. I was accused of influencing 
people, going to camps and encouraging the boys not to 
wear the uniform, and they called me Kaiser. I was given 
one more chantre to sign up or suffer the consequences. I 
flatly refused, stated my position, and said that if they 
wanted my fife they could have it: but that I would give 
nothing to a crowd like that, quoting a number of scrip- 
tures and referring to the President's message, but to no 

They puHed me away from my wife and daughter who 


had hold of me and took mc across the road where horse 
clappers were ai>i>Hed to my head, taking everythin'g clean. 
My life and buildings were threatened. They claimed to 
have lots of work and must make haste, so they went to 
their machines and the entire crowd went east, stopping 
at 'two other places before dis'banding-. 

A number of young people were at our home, learning 
some new songs, and when they saw what was going on 
•they held a iprayer service before 'leaving the roomf but 
one of the young sisters present Avas obliged to take treat- 
ment for four months because of the shock upon her nerv- 
ous syslem. We praise God for still carimg .for H'i;s own. 


* * * * 

April i8. 1919. 

Dear Brother, Greeting: 

I was solicited for the various war measures, 'but usu- 
ally an explanation of my position was all that was neces- 
sary. I made a 'bank deposiit in lieu of buying liberty bonds 
in the fourth drive. When the war-chest-dTive was on 
an organization was formed with the motto, "Ev-ery man 
a subscriber.'' Two men came /to my home one c\'ening 
the latter part of July, 1918, called me out and asked me 
to go with them to the -county seat. I told them that 
I could not go because my wife's mother was very sick, 
and that I must hdp her and the children to .got to her 
bedside: but they showed me the silver star on their vests, 
claiming to be United States deputies, and sadd, "You must 

They went to the home of my brother-in-law and 
got him. Other automobiles joined in. On the way back 
past my home they asked me to take my machine. We 
did so, and with twx) others in my machine we proceeded 
to the county seat.. 

On reaching the city we were ordered to leave my 
machine near the police station and get into their machine. 
They took us through a dank alley and into a large hall 
where from six to eight hundred men were assembled. 
All except a few in the l)ack i>art of the hall were masked. 
I was to answer questions only. 

I was (luestioned as to why T could not .sign up for 
this fund. When 1 exqjlained that 1 thought it was wrong 
to si;;)port war measures, they asked me whether t did 
not sell produce at war prices and said that 1 could not 
hide behind the cloak of religion. They had no respect 
for r^y convictions and decided tha<t 1 must sign up for a 
specil'.c amount. Some said one thousand dollars but 
tinallv agreed on lifty dollars. 1 told them that I had some 
nirr,ey along and that they might take that, -but they said 
that they wanted my voluntary signature. I refused. The 


card was made out and I was given one minute to sign it. 
The chairman, also masked, held his watch in one hand 
and his pen extended toward me in the other, but when 
they found that availed nothing I was ordered to go back 
to the machine, followed by many epitap.hs too vile to put 
on paper. Kicks and cuffs were in evidence. After I was 
out my brother-in-law was taken into the haH....He yield- 
ed, and that made them more fierce toward me. ... Finally 
we were taik-en back to our machine and allowed to go 

On August 14, near midnight, .... A man wanted some 
oil. I got up and got it for him. Then he wanted me to 
hold the lantern while he poured the oil into his machine. 
He and several others caught hold of me, put me into the 
machine. I had ver>^ little clothing on and was bare- 
footed. They -went about a mile to a woods and asked 
each other whether this would not be a good place to 
string me up. After a time they drove very fast. I got 
\'(.ry cold and asked for soine extra clothing. They an- 
swered me by putting me under their t'eet while they 
drove wi'ldly on. When they stopped, about seven miles 
away from my home, they iplaced a rope arotmd my neck 
and led me to the side of the road. They asked whether 
I wanted to pray before being hung. 1 knelt down and 
prayed. References were made to the war-chest but they 
intimated that it was too late now. They asked me wheth- 
er 1 was sorry that I had not signed before. I said that 
I could not do it even now.... They took off my shirt 
and painted the upper part of my 'body. They clipped 
from the front to the 'back of my head, and from ear to 
ear, the strip being about an inch and a half wide. They 
cut so close that in several places they took off the skin. 
Then they :pait on my shirt and took off the rope, and told 
me to make traCJcis toward home. About half a mile from 
the s-cene I inquired the way home .... After going about 

a mile farther I inquired the way to my cousin I a- 

woke him, told him the whole story. He g-ave me clothes 
and took me to my home. 

We praise God for His protection, and for permitting 
us to meet aigain as a family after such a siege. 

Your brother, 

It is the duty of every Christian to give due 
regard to government and its officials, never to speak 
evil of them, but to pray for them that they may be 
directed of God so that His people may live in the 
land to His glory. It is the aim of government to 


give freedom of speech; but there are always those 
who would abuse such privileges, hence there is need 
of some restrictions. This is especially true in times 
of war, as both pulpit and press would be used to 
aid the enemy if it were not for the law. It was 
with this in mind that the Espionage law was passed 
and later amended. 

It was not the intent of this law, however, that 
every effort should be made to watch for any slight 
expression that some one would make in an unguard- 
ed moment in the regul'ar discharge of his duty, and 
then prosecute the case for vengeance. That this 
was done in some cases goes wi'thout saying. In- 
stances where the party had not the least idea of 
violating any law nor of hindering the President in 
the prosecution of his work and least of all of aiding 
the enemy, were made the victims of the law. 

An effort was made to indict those who signed 
the statement put out by the Mennonite General 
Conference. (See chapter V.) Federal representa- 
tives visited many of the signers. Some of these 
officials were very reasonable and succeeded in get- 
ting full information ; while others were very abusive 
and profane, using language which was very unbe- 
coming for any one, especially in an official capacity. 
Naturally these last got very little information. 
What the result would have been, had these signers 
been convicted of violating the Espionage law is not 
easy to determine. AM told, there were one hundred 
ninety-seven names on the paper. Some of these 
could, and possibly would have paid their fines at 
once; others were too poor for that, and some for 
conscientious reasons would not have paid if they 
could have done so nor allowed others to pay it 


for them. Under these circumstances doubtless a 
large number would have been made to serve long 
sentences in the federal prisons. This would have 
lobbed the churches of their pastors, and the influ- 
ence would have been felt over a wide range of 

The case of Brethren L. J. Heatwole and R. \Y. 
Benner will be given somewhat in detail. The first 
is a letter which Bro. Heatwole wrote and which was 
the basis for prosecution : 

Dale Enterprise, Va, July 15, 1918. 
Dear Brother Benner. Greetings: 

Your letter of the nth is here.... The clipping I en- 
close is no doubt a similar proclamation by the governor 
of your state. The tenor of this proclamation is that all 
people of the state and nation exerciise the spirit of self- 
sacrifice. (Good). To pledge themselves to economy and 
thrift for the ibalance of the year. (Also good enough). 
To buy to the extent of their means as an evidence of 
their patriotism, war saving stamps for the support of 
boys in France. (Here comes the test.) 

The advi-ce given by our brethren of the General Con- 
ference Committee is that our brethren — 
Do not aid or abet war in any form. 
Receive no pay while held in detention camps. 
Contri'bute nothimg to a fund that is used to run the 
war machine. 

In a number of places where brethren have refused to 
contribute to the different war funds, outlandish threats 
have been made and in a few cases have been put into 
execution — such as, tar and feathering, painting houses 
yellow, decorating autos and buildings with flags to test 
them out on their principles of nonresistance. 

I haA-e continued to give the advice of the General 
Conference committee to the brethren here, and would do 
the same to the brethren in West Virginia were I there, 
and take the consequences whatever they may be. 

Some of our brethren here have yielded under pressure, 
others have subscriibed to Red Cross funds and taken out 
war savirLg stamps, but of these so far as I know there 
are only a few. 

If our brethren in camp can stand true to the faith 
of the Gospel, why should not we at home bear part of 

the pressure 

Hurriedly, L. J. Heatwole. 


Bro. Benner acted upon the instructions of 
Bishop Heatwole, advised his members as to what 
is the position of the Mennonite Church on these 
questions, with the result that both were later 
brought before the U. S. district court at Martins- 
burg, W. Va. Following is a recital of the case: 


In the United States court, Martinsbimg, W, Va.. Sep- 
tember 1 8, 1 91 8. 

Judge Alton I>a>'ton, United States Judge, ipresiding. 
Stewart W. Walker, United States district attorney. 
George N. Conrad, attorney for the defense. 
L. J. Heatwole and R. W. Benner called to the bar. 
An array of United States clerks, marshals, 

bailiffs, messengers, jurymen and a lobby crowded 

with witnesses, spectators and curiosity seekers; 

complete the scene, at 2:30 P. M., when the court 

was called to order by all persons rising to their 

feet as the judge, robed in a silk gown, took his seat. 

District Attorney Walker's Address to the Court 

"If your honor please, the joint case, Umited States 
vs. Heatwole and Benner is presented for your considera- 
tion. Rev. L. J. Heatwole of Dale Enterprise, Va., who 
is a bishop in the Mennonite Church and Rev. R. W. 
Benner of Jo*b, W. Va., in charge of a mission wt that 
place for the ■same denomination, have been indicted by the 
grand jury of this court, and are held on a charge of a 
violation of the Espionage law, through a correspondence 
of last summer by which the former conveyed to the lat- 
ter by letter instructions that foiibade members of his 
Church to buy war saving stamps, and the latter by con- 
veying the same instructions to his members, the grand 
jury finds a case in which the honor and dignirty of the 
United States g-overnment has been disregarded in main- 
taining its Esp-ionage laws. Since these laws have been 
violated each party of this correspondence stands indicted 
in this coairt in the penalty of ten thousand dollars with 
another additioniaJ ten thousand dollars for both. It being 
known, however, that there are circumstance^s connected 
with this case that call for exercising some degree of clem- 
ency, it is suggested that the defense enter a plea of 
guilty which allows that the reading of the indictment be 
omitted — a proposition to which we agree since it ts a 
lengthy documeat. 


"At this juncture we introduce to th^e court as counsel 
for the defense Senator George N. Conrad of Virginia." 

Senator Conrad's Address to the Court 

''If your honor please, it seems appropriate and in 
good form for me to appeal to the court for every con- 
sideration it may allow for these two gentlemien whose 
names are mentioned in connection with this indictment. 
I am personaMy acquainted wiith both of them, and since 
they are ministers of the Gospel, neither haA'ing before 
violated fhe law, and further since both represent a de- 
nomination whose people have for centuries stood fCr the 
prinoiple of nonresistance in time of peace as well as in 
time of war; and in view of ithe fact that the act of Bishop 
Heatwole in conveying to Rev. Benner information as to 
solicitatkm of the latter and the members of his charge in 
the attitude of the Church in time of war, was done on 
solicitation of the latter and members of his charge in 
West Virginia, it would not 'be militant against the dignity 
of the law to allow the fullest degree of clemency for 
this case. My personal acquaintance of these men, one 
of whom I have known for thirty years, prompts me to 
say that neither would intentiona'lly vnolaite any law, and 
recognizing that the violation in this case is merely tech- 
nical, and that the offense will not be repeated, we believe 
tha-t the court will 'grant the clemency that the case de- 

District Attorney Walker's Rejoinder 

"If your honor ^please, the prosecution is ready with 
the court's (permission to recognize for the defense the 
plea of 'guilty, and since the honor and dignity of the 
United States government has been violated only tech- 
nicajlly, and since Bishop Heatwole wrote what he did 
from the prompting's of a zeal which he had for a creed 
which I myself am not afble to understand — and since it 
appears frotm the facts in the case that both ministers 
were actin'g in .the full capadty of their calling, the dignity 
of the Espiona-ge law^ can be sustained by reducing the 
maximum fine to one thousand dollars and costs for each, 
with the understanding that the offense be not repeated, 
and that >the fines and costs be paid within thirty days 
from date," 

To this agreement between counsel, Judge Day- 
ton assented, and the brethren were at once dis- 

R. W. Benner, who had given out the informa- 
tion received from L. J. Heatwole, was arrested by 


a U. S. marshal, given a hearing and declared to be 
worse than the Germans. Two brethren from his 
congregation followed him to Elkins, W. Va., and 
secured his release on bail to appear at Martinsburg- 
for trial as above stated. 

L. J. Heatwole, the writer of the letter, was not 
arrested but was informed of the aflPair by Bro. Ben- 
ner's attorney. He went to Martinsburg and found 
that a plea of guilty had already been entered for 
both Heatwole and Benner. This agreement had 
been reached and the fine fixed by the attorney for 
the defendants and the United States district at- 
torney. At the trial neither of the two stood and 
plead guilty, as is usually done in such cases, nor 
was the indictment read in open court. 

Senator Conrad's Statement 

"Last J'une (1918) some members in the Mennonitc 
Church in the neighborhood of Job, W. Va., were informed 
that every person was to buy war saving stamps, or give his 
reason for not doing so. Some members apiplied to Rev. 
R. W. Benner, the preacher in charge of the congregation, 
for information as to what they should do, and he wrote to 
Bishop L. J. Heatwole for advice as to what attitude the 
members should take in referen-ce to the matter. 

"Bishcxp Heatwole replied that the General Conference 
of the Church had advised thait they sTiould contribute 
nothing to a fund that was to be used to run 'the war 
ma<:hine and he wou.ld give the isame advice to the ibreth- 
ren in West Virginia. (For General ConfererKre advice,, 
see "Mennonitcs on Military Service, Chapter V.) After 
receiving that letter, Rev. Benner wrote to a number of 
members at and near Job, advisiing them to 'go and give 
their reasons,' but not to buy stamps. 

"The Conigre^s of the United States had, in May 1918, 
am-cndi'd what is known as the Espionage law so as to 
provide that no person should say or do anything except 
by bona fide and not dis-loyal advice to an investor with the 
intent to dbstruot the sale by the United States of bonds 
or other securities of the United States, and pror\nded as 
a penalty a punishment by fine of not more than tci* 


thousand dollars or impnisOrLment for more than ten years 
or both 

"Agemts o.f the governmem obtained one or more of 
the JetteT5 w^hich Rev, Benner 'had written, and a'lso ob- 
tained the letter which Bishop Heatwole wrote, and the 
grand jury of the United States court at MartinsbuTg, 
broipght an indictmenrt against both Rev. Benner and Biish- 
op Heatwole, charging that by their letters they had vio- 
lated the espionage law. 

"Tlhere was no dispute as to what the facts were. 
Inasmuch as the representatives of government had con- 
cluded that the writing of these letter* and mailing them 
was a violation of the law, it was considered proper for 
both Rev. Benner and Bishop Heatwole to accept the con- 
dusioas that government officials had reached, and to pay 
'such fine as might be placed upon them. 

"A p)ea of guilty was therefore entered and a fine of 
one thousand dollars each with -costs was placed upon 
Bishop Heatwole and Rev. Benner respectively, granting 
them thiirty days, however, within which to pay the fine 
and the 'costs. It was considered by representatives of 
the government that these fines should be amposed, not so 
much ais a punishment to Bishop Heatwole and Rev. Ben- 
ner, but as a precedent and a warning to all other persons 
belonging' to the Mennonite Church, or persons holding 
similar doctrines. 

"It became necessary to employ an attorney in behalf 
of Bis:ho^ Heatwole and Rev. Benner in connection with 
this matter, and the fee to be paid to the attorney, to- 
gether with the costs and the ifine amount to two thousand 
two InundreA fifity-six dollars." 

Another case which attracted wide attention was 
the arrest and fine imposed upon Brethren S. H. 
Miller and M. E. Bontrager. 

An article appeared in the Sugar Creek Budget, 
Sugar Creek, O., written by M. E. Bontrager of 
Dodge City, Kan. S. H. Miller was editor of the 
paper and in his absence from the office the article 
was published. The jx>sition which he held made 
him the responsible party for what appeared in its 
columns. The article was very innocent in its con- 
tent, but the grand jury of the United States district 
couft interpreted it as being "intended to promote 
the success of the enemy now at war with the Unit- 
ed States;" that the parties "did then and there, 


unlawfully, wilfully, an'd feloniously make and con- 
vey false reports and false statements by publishing 
and causing to be puiblished in a certain newspaper 
known as the Weekly Budget. .. .with the intention 
to interfere with the operations and success of the 
military and naval forces. .. .did then and there un- 
lawfully, wilfully and feloniously cause and attempt 
to cause, and incite and attem'pt to incite insubordi- 
nation, disloyalty, mutiny and refusal to duty in the 
military forces of the United States...." 

To put said article and these charges side by 
side, or to read these charges in the light of that 
article twenty-five years hence will surely provoke 
a smile on the face oi any reader ; for there was ab- 
solutely nothing in the article to merit such an in- 

An officer came to interview Bro. Miller and 
the latter went at once to Cleveland, O., without be- 
ing under arre^st ; but when he refused to plead 
guilty of the charges he was placed behind the 
bars until bail could be secured, regardless of the 
fact that one of his friends offered to supply an 
amount of money equal to the amount of bail asked, 
into the hand^s of the court. 

When the trial was called, Bro. Milier, not hav- 
ing an attorney, asked permission to make a state- 
ment. It was granted. He told the court that he 
could not plead guilty to the changes in the indict- 
ment, but confes^sed that the article in question was 
i>ublishcd in the Budget of May 15, 1918, and stated 
that he was sorry tliat it happened, and eKi>lained 
how it was done. The court accepted his statement 
and fined him five hundred dollars, which with the 
ctxst amounted to about nine hundred dollars. 


From the experiences given in the last few 
chapters, we draw the following conclusions: 

First, that the freedom of worship guaranteed 
by the Constitution of the United States is not to 
be construed to mean that you have an undisputed 
right to live and teach the whole Gospel as you 
undesstand it. When we apply that Gospel to 
technicalities, others will undertake to say whether 
we dare teach and live it. 

Second, that sufifering for Christ's sake is not a 
thing of the past, but found even in this enlightened 
day and in this country of boasted freedom. 

Third, that God will care for His own if they 
must p*ass through hard trials for His sake, that 
with every trial He gives a blessing which repays 
all the hardships suffered. 

Fourth, that violations which occurred in the 
faithful discharge of duty with no intention to harm 
any one nor hinder government — vidlations that are 
such only in a very technical sense — were watched 
and prosecuted the same as any other. 

Fifth, that fines were not always based on the 
offense, but were sometimes made large so that oth- 
ers might fear and avoid getting into the same diffi- 
culty. In other words, some fines were intended to 
cover the extent of the wrong done plus paying the 
expenses of giving Avarning to others. (See Sena- 
tor Conrad's statement in this chapter.) 

Sixth, that some who for conscience' sake pur- 
sued a course that subjected them to the charge of 
disloyalty have since the war is over lived a loyalty 
that says more than the loyalty of self-proclaimed 
patriots who in so many cases have since proved 


untrue to their fellowman, their country, and their 

While it seems to us very wrong that a gov- 
ernment (or individuals in it) should have the right 
to prosecute any one who faithfully teaches the 
members of his flock the Bible as he understands it 
and as God has called him to do, and that officers 
in the employ of government should try to compel 
young men to do what they actualUy believed to be 
wrong, it is a comfort to know that those remaining 
true to their convictions and to God, though they 
were compelled to suffer, are doing so for Christ's 
sake. "If, when ye do well and suffer for it, ye 
take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." "They 

departed rejoicing that they were counted worthy 

to suffer shame for His name." 



Duty of Pastors to the Brethren in Camp 

It is the duty of the pastor to look after his flock 
regardless o^ where it is, or through what trials it 
is required to pass, especially when the flock has no 
choice in the matter. Before any of the drafted men 
went to camp the question of how to care for the 
brethren who would be thus isolated, and be in en- 
vironments which were not conducive to spirituai;lity, 
was discussed a great deal in conferences, in private 
conversation, and by correspondence. Parents who 
had sons in camp were also vitally interested. No 
precedent had been established, and while it was 
•evident that the brethren could be visited, no one 
knew under what circumstances it could be done or 
what Christian privileges either the boys or the 
visitors would have. Could ministers hold preach- 
ing services? Could the young brethren have Sunday 
school or any other religious exercises? A great 
many questions arose regarding the spiritual help 
that couild be given which time alone could answer. 

^Work of Committees 

The various conferences saw that no definite 
action could be taken w^ich would adequately meet 
the needs — not even after many had been in camp 
ior some time because of the various war orders 


which were sent out from Washington in quick suc- 
cession, the difference in the methods of work in 
the different camps, and conflicting actions of offic- 
ers in the same camp. Conditions must be met in 
some other way. The work was generally given 
over to committees who were to see that necessary 
aid should be given in the best manner possible. 
Some of the conferences united in this work. Three 
conferences west of the Mississippi River had one 
committee. This i)lan had some advantages as well 
as a few disadvantages. In spite of the fact that 
these committees did noble work, the most difficult 
problems arising out of misunderstandings between 
the officials and brethren in the camps fell to a few 
men scattered all the way from the eastern to the 
western coast. I. B. Good and J. C. Habecker in 
eastern Pennsylvania, Aaron Loucks in the western 
j)art of the same state, D. D. Miller in Indiana, S. 
C. Yoder in Iowa, D. H. Bender in Kansas, and E. 
Z. Yoder on the western coast were ainong those 
who gave th-emselves over to this work and their 
services were in great demand. 


Tbe war department ordered that thcKse who re- 
fused to wear the uniform and to accept noncom- 
batant service should be segregated. At Camp 
Meade (Md.) this was understood to mean that civ- 
ilians would not be allowed to go into the barracks; 
that segregation practically means im'prrsonment. A 
soldier stcxxi at the door and would call any young 
man provided the visitor named the one wanted. 
They could visit for half an hour, but it must be 
done in the presence of the guard. This gave no 


opportunity for religious services except such as the 
young men could hold among themselves. At first 
the interpretation was very different from this at 
Camp Taylor (Ky.j. There the ministers were al- 
lowed to com€ into the barracks, eat with their 
friends in camp, hold services, and visit for hours. 
One minister who had a son there was even allowed 
to sleep there. Some other camps regarded the 
guard-house as the only proper segregation. Be- 
tween these two extremes could be classed all the 
camps in the United States. 

Getting an Understanding at Camp Meade 

Aaron Loucks and D. D. Miller, two of the com- 
mittee appointed by the General Conference to inter- 
view the war department concerning the status of 
our brethren in the draft, had occasion to make a 
second trip to Washington, and hearing of the condi- 
tions which prevailed there, went by way of Camp 
Meade and asked to see the brethren. The guard 
said that he would call any one out that they wanted 
to see and asked who they wanted. They replied 
that they wanted to see all the Mennonite boys, but 
they were told that they would have to name them. 
They left the camp without seeing any of them. In 
company with I. B. Good and J. C. Habecker, the 
committee appointed by the Lancaster Conference to 
look after their brethren who were drafted, and Wil- 
liam Derstine of the Franconia Conference, they pro- 
ceeded to Washington. They called on Provost 
Marshal General Crowder and reported their experi- 
ence at Camp Meade. The General at once called up 
Secretary Baker by phone, and got orders to call up 
the commatKler ait Meade and tell him to so arrange 


matters ithat the brethren Gcx)d and Habecker could 
hold religious services in the C. O. barracks the next 
day. This was done, and later the department made 
arrangements so that services could be held there 
regularly. A few weeks later Bishop P. R. Nissley 
accompanied the brethren who went there to hold 
services and they observed the communion. Quite 
an experience — a Mennonite bishop in a war camp 
holding a service in commemoration of the suflfer- 
ing, death and atonement of the Prince of Peace ; but 
that was caring for the flock, and shows one of the 
needs and opportunities of camp visitation. These 
two brethren wrote up a full account of their many 
visits to this camp. This will 'be important history 
in the future. 

Centralizing the Work 

With all that good work being done in vis- 
iting camps, answering letters, etc., matters were 
congtantly becoming more and more complicated. 
Camp officials were trying to drive our brethren into 
the service. More correspondence with Washington 
became necessary and more requests were coming in 
asking that certain young men in the camps be aid- 
ed. With the drives for war funds came demamds 
for more meetings for consultation. All of this 
meant better organization. It called for one man as 
leader. It was better that he should come to such 
leadership by force of circumstances than by election. 
It was but natural that Aaron Loucks, chairman of 
the committee apf>ointed by General Conference to 
lodk after the welfare of the draftees, should be that 
man. His counsel and help were in almost constant 
demand. Being away from home much of the time 


his letters and telegrams would often not be an- 
swered for a long time. This was very unsatisfac- 
tory, both to Brother Loucks and to the correspond- 
ents. It was decided that he must have help, some 
one to take charge of the correspondence. J. S. 
Hartzler of Goshen, Ind., was asked to do this and 
went to Scottdale to take up the work. With in- 
creased help came increased demands. Both men 
were busy. For months at a time Bro. Loucks could 
not have made all the calls that were asked for, even 
if he had remained on the road all the time. 

Some seemed to think that there were few limits 
to the powers of those who would visit camps reg- 
ularly. One father wrote, ''They have taken my boy 
to Camp. I do not like that. I want you to go do\fn 
there and have him transferred to one of the north- 
ern camps — either Sherman or Taylor." Imagine 
about how much good it would have done to have 
gone to a camp or to have written to the war de- 
partment requesting such a change. 

Benefit to the Parents 

But the young men in camp were not the only 
ones who were benefited by these visits. In many 
cases the parents at home were suffering more than 
their sons in camp. Sometimes because the mails 
were not regular, they imagined that their loved ones 
were sick or imprisoned and were no^ alloAved to 
write, and a visit with the son and a letter to the 
parents soothed many a troubled heart. To know 
that some one had visited their son, some one who 
could help him to solve some of his problems, was 
like a healing balm to the broken heart. Many a 
mother slept better after receiving a letter stating 


that her son had been visited, was faring well, and 
was in good cheer. 

Benefit to Camp Commanders 

Even camp commanders and officers under him 
were benefited by these visits. It was very difficult 
for such officials to understand how any one could 
take th-e position of the C. O. and be anything else 
than a German sympaithizer, a slacker, or a coward. 
Many were honest in their convictions and were glad 
for an opportunity to discuss the subject with some 
one who because of age and experience was better 
versed on the subject than many of the young men 
were. Many of these officers would discuss the doc- 
trine of nonresistance with the ministers for an hour 
or more and thus see whether the visitors and the 
C. O.'s agreed on the subject. The majority of the 
officials would hardly admit that they had received 
any new light on the subject of the new life, but in 
many cases their actions toward the Christian young 
men were more considerate after such visits. 

A brother called at a certain camp and after 
talking with the brethren for a time went to see one 
of the higher officials who received him cordially 
After discussing the C O. problem the officer said 
that he had been expecting the board of inquiry for 
some time but as yet had heard nothing from it. The 
brother asked whether he had reported to the depart- 
ment at Washington that there were any C. O.'s 
in his camp. The officer looked a little surprised at 
such a question and said, "Xo.'' The brother took 
a paper from his pocket and showed him that on 
the first day of each month, camp commanders who 
had C. O.'s in their camps should report the same 


to the war department at Washington. What hap- 
pened after that is not known, but reasonably soon 
after the beginning- of the next month the C. O.'s 
were transferred to another camp where they met 
the board a few days later. 

Wilful Neglect 

Again, camp visits were necessary because some 
camp commanders, and especially under officers, 
were wilfully neglecting to observe orders from 
Washington, or were so construing them as to make 
them meaningless. As stated before, all post and 
camp commaiKiers were required to repKDrt at the 
beginning of each month the names of all persons 
under their respective commands who professed re- 
ligious or other conscientious scruples, and "who 
have not been w^illing to accept by reason of such 
scruples, assignment to noncom'batant military serv- 
ice." This order also required that such report 
should contain a brief, comprehensive statement as 
to the nature of the objection. This shows that pro- 
visions w^re made for such as could not accept either 
combatant or noncombatant service, and that the 
war department actually expected that there would 
be siKrh. Iti spite of this, commanders were con- 
stantly trying to force such work upon the C. O.'s, 
many of whom were too inexperienced to handle such 
a situation, and appealed for help. Persons from 
outside could do much more especiall^jj if it was evi- 
dent that they knew their business. Here were men 
whose sole interest in camp was to see that Christian 
vourLg men got the treatment that the department 
had provided for them. While it was the business 
of the offBcials to get as many to accept service as 


they could, using legitimate means in doing it, they 
were more careful in the methods used because they 
could not tell how soon such camp visitors might 
come or whom they might befriend if they came. 

Undue Criticism 

It is a self evident fact that President Wilson 
and the Congress of the United States have been un- 
wisely criticised by some of the C. O/s and their 
friends (more from the political than the religious 
objectors) because Government did not meet the 
situation better from the standpoint of the objector. 
As representatives of the people they were obliged 
to consider the wishes of their constituency; also, 
the conscientious objectors constituted such a small 
per cent of the whole that to make them an excep- 
tion might have proven a misfortune, both the offi- 
cials and to those excepted. Taking all these things 
into consideration one can not account for the re- 
gard and privilges which the nonresistant people re- 
ceived, both at the hands of the law-makers and o£ 
rhe camp officials otherwise than by an honest effort 
on the part of those who made the laws, even though 
they did not understand our position nor agree with 
it, and the over-ruling and protection of our heav- 
enly Father for His own. 

Position of the Official 

Camp officials, too, had reasons for their actions 
in many cases. There were actual "slackers," and 
the C. O. cloak was a good one under which to hide. 
Those had to be sifted out, and testing was the only 
method that some of the officers knew for sifting. 
Then again, while the officers were in trarni-ng they 
were taught tliat every man must serve. They were 


not taught that there Avere a few exceptions; that 
these were to be excused because they 'had a con- 
science against war. Every man MUST. The offic- 
er was boss of men and was himself under a boss. 
His boss expected him to see that conditions were 
met according to the rules of war. His promotion 
depended upon h<yw well he succeeded in getting 
every man trained in the part required. It is easy 
to see why officials were so persistent, and equally 
easy to see the need of proper camp visiting. 

Injudicious Camp Visiting 

Not all such visiting was proper, however. Some 
visits had better never been made. One minister, 
in his desire to go just as far as he could to comply 
with the desires of a camp official and at the same 
time not violate a Christian principle, upon hearing 
the explanation of a certain kind of work said, "Cer- 
tainly our boys can do that." He had not investi- 
gated the matter nor consulted the young men who 
were .in constant touch with the work and knew 
better all the points involved. After that the officer 
insisted that the woi'k be done and the nonresist- 
ants all refused to do it. To the officer this looked 
like stubbornness. One of the brethren wrote to his 
pastor to come at once. After the pastor and the 
boys had carefully gone over the matter the former 
went to the officer and said, 'T am sorry, but our 
boys cannot conscientiously do the work which has 
been assigned to them, and I cannot encourage them 
to do it. I could not do it if I were placed in like 
circumstances." The offiicer said, "Some time ago 
a minister who claimed that he was a Mennonite was 
here and he said that the boys could do this work; 


now you say that they cannot. I believe that you 
bad better go home and agree among yourselves as 
to what you want, then come here and we will talk 
it over. We will not get anywhere this way" — ^and 
he was right. There were other injudicious visits 
which did more to confuse than to set matters right. 
Considering the training" of the officers, the small 
number of nonresistants as compared with the great 
and mighty army, and the disagreement of pastors 
as to the work that could be done with consistency, 
we can be thankful indeed for the consideration re- 
ceived, and that camp visits were not much more 
necessary than they were. "Truly, God is good to 
Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.'* 



War is always cruel. Killing and destroying 
property are its immediate aims. Cripples, widows, 
orphans, immense national debt, and enormous taxes 
are a few of the results which follow in its trail for 
many years, while some of the more immediate re- 
sults are starvation, exposure, and epidemics. Grief 
caused by war is indescribable. With improved im- 
plements used in the late conflict all these calamities 
were correspondingly increased. 

Conditions in War Countries 

Armies surged back and forth ; strategic points 
were taken by one army only to be retaken by the 
enemy. Homes were either burned or wrecked by 
bursting shells from the enormous cannon. Mine 
and shell holes from two to twenty feet deep were in 
evidence. When the enemy came upon a town or 
neighborhood the common people fled from their 
homes taking with them a few of their belongings, 
such as could be gathered in haste and conveyed to 
places of safety. But when they came back they 
found their homes gone and their fields in such a 
condition that they could not be farmed. Aside 
from being shell-torn, much of the land was covered 


with tons and tons of bar'bed wire which had been 
used for defense. 

Other countries away from these contested plac- 
es were not so badly torn but were robbed of their 
cattle, horses, crops, and in fact everything that 
would be of use to the army. The people were left 
destitute and the suffering was intense. If these 
people were to be saved from starvation, help must 
come from sources outside of their own country. 
Information came to this country through the news- 
papers. Red Cross, consuls, and other agencies and 
the people were touched with sympathy. Many 
wanted to give toward feeding and clothing the peo- 
ple and helping them to rebuild their homes. 

Avenues Through Which to Help 

Not knowing where to send their contributions 
and still remain consistent with the nonresistant 
doctrine, many Mennonites began to send money to 
the treasurer of the Mennonite Board of Missions 
and Charities, G. L. Bender, Elkhart, Indiana. He 
sought ways and means of distributing this money 
but for a time found none that were very satisfac- 
tory. The Red Cross and the Y. M. C. A. were 
ready to assume the responsibility but there were 
objections to both. First, they were allied with the 
war, and to give them money was only another way 
of abetting the conflict; second, both distributed to- 
bacco in some form, and other things objectionable, 
among the soldiers, both in this country and in 
Europe, thus tending to debauch the soldier rather 
than to lift him up. This was more than many peo- 
ple could endorse, and it became more and more evi- 
dent that a separate organization should be eflFected 


which would inform the Church of the needs and 
would solicit liberal contributions in order to carry 
on relief work more eflfectively. 

Mennonite Relief Commission for War Sufferers 

A missionary conference was held at the Forks 
Church near Middlebury, Indiana, December 24-26, 
1917, and it was determined to bring up the matter 
at that meeting. This was done and a lively discus- 
sion followed. As a result the Mennonite Relief 
Commission for War Sufferers was organized. A 
constitution was drawn up and adopted. Article II 
of this document reads: "The object of this organ- 
ization shall be to solicit, receive, hold and disburse 
or distribute funds or supplies for the relief of war 
sufferers." The last two words are suggestive as to 
the intended duration. So is also the last article in 
the constitution: ''After the conditions which call 
for the organization of this commission shall have 
ceased to exist, this organization shall be disband- 
ed." Later many have thought that it should be or- 
ganized on a more permanent basis so as to be ready 
for any emergency along the special line of its work. 

Our Obligation 

Information went out rapidly. Announcements 
were made in the congregations and through the 
church papers. Those who had been at the confer- 
ence were full of the subject and talked it wherever 
they went. If we could not support the Red Cross 
or the Y. M. C. A., we were none the less under ob- 
ligation to relieve suffering which seemed to be on 
the increase. Tracts were sent out; articles and 
editorials appeared in the church papers, setting 
forth conditions, and showing the obligations of 


stewardship. People were being pressed to support 
war measures, and many gave as much to alleviate 
distress as they would have been asked to give to 
support the war; others doubled or trebled these 
amounts. At the time of the organization of the 
Commission some thought that it would be possible 
to raise one hundred thousand dollars, but it was 
soon beyond that. Several of the smaller branches 
of Mennonites were given representation in the or- 
ganization and contributed liberally. Then it was 
suggested that the Commission in company with the 
Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities 
should try to raise two hundred thousand dollars, 
but in one year from its organization that amount 
was exceeded by an additional fourth of that a- 
mount, is still coming in and doubtless will so long 
as the need is so great. 

Mennonites in Canada and Relief 

In Canada it was thought best to do their relief 
work through an organization that w^as Canadian 
rather than to send their contributions to an organ- 
ization existing in another country. As Mennonites 
and Tunkers united in an effort to raise two hundred 
thousand dollars for this purpose it cannot be defin- 
itely determined how much was raised by Menno- 
nites alone. However, knowing the amounts raised 
by the Commission and the Eastern Mennonite 
Board of Missions and Charities and making a con- 
servative estimate of the part raised by the Menno- 
nites of Canada, it is evident that before the signing 
of the Armistice, November 11, 1918, the total a- 
mount raised by the Mennonites in America had 
passed the four hundred thousand dollar mark with 


money still coming in. Very good — and yet it could 
not be truthfully said of the Church, "She hath done 
what she could," for she might have done still much 

Seeking Avenues for Work 

Wifh the increase of funds naturally came the 
question of the best means of applying them. The 
Church wanted to send workers as well as money. 
The Red Cross being international in scope had re- 
ceived exclusive rights for carrying on relief work 
in the war-stricken districts except where organized 
relief was already being carried on. Most of the 
churches did their work through the Red Cross, but 
that required the military uniform and was directly 
and organically allied with the army. The ordinary 
C. O. could no more work consistently with this 
organization than he could do noncombatant work 
in the army. It was also considered advisable, if 
possib-le, to get a certain section in the war-stricken 
district for which the Church would become re- 
sponsible for both relief and reconstruction, as that 
would create greater interest and men and money 
would be forthcoming more abundantly, but no such 
place could be secured. 

Work of the English Friends 

Early in the conflict the English Friends began 
work in devastated places in France. When this 
country entered the war the American Friends de- 
sired a place where they could work, but the Red 
Cross was on the ground first. However, the Amer- 
ican Friends succeeded in getting into the work un- 
der the English Society. American Friends invited 
the Mennonites to work with them. This was ac- 


cepted and the Relief Commission at once began to 
send a stipulated amount of five thousand dollars 
each month to the Friends for reconstruction. On 
several occasions, when the need became very urg- 
ent, the Commission furnished twenty thousand dol- 
lars aside from the monthly amount. This was con- 
tinued until the sector assigned to the Friends had 
been brought to a fair state of habitation and culti- 

Furnishing Men as Well as Money 

A number of our brethren would have been glad 
to go to France and aid in the work of relief and 
reconstruction as soon as the way opened, but the 
scarcity of farm labor seemed to require all the 
available force in this country to supply the needed 
food. Much had been shipped to the warring coun- 
tries and the prices for farm produce were almost 
prohibitive, especially to the poor, hence Mennonite 
boys who were not called to camp were urged to 
help on the farms. However, some of the boys who 
were in camp were furloughed for reconstruction 
work in France under the Friends. Others would 
have been glad to go because they could have been 
a benefit to mankind there instead of remaining in 
camp where they were consumers and were not able 
to do anything constructively, but the Board of In- 
quiry refused them that privilege. After their dis- 
charge from camp, quite a number of Mennonites 
accepted the invitation of the Friends to spend one 
year in this work. 

Brethren Allgyer and Smucker Sent to France 

Suggestions came from the Friends, from breth- 
ren in the service of the Friends, and frcrni a 


number of the Church leaders that one or two breth- 
ren be sent to France to inspect the work that was 
being done and bring a report back to America. It 
was finally decided to send two, one an elderly man, 
well known in the Church and the other a young 
man. The Commission chose Brethren Samuel E. 
Allgyer of West Liberty, Ohio, and Vernon Smuck- 
er of Orrville, Ohio, but later of Scottdale, Pennsyl- 
vania. These reports gave new impetus to the work 
and the interest was well sustained until the Friends 
decided that the work had better be left and other 
more needy places taken up. 

Work in Syria and Armenia 

The American Committee for Armenian and 
Syrian Relief (later known as Near East Relief 
Committee) had been at woric in these countries 
almost from the beginning of the war, but had 
been doing their work through the missionaries 
on the field. Many people were touched by the 
reports of atrocities committed by the Turks, and 
the suflFerings of the Armenians, and sent money 
to the Relief Commission with the instructions that 
it be used to relieve suffering in that country. The 
Commission found this Committee an avenue thru 
w^hich to carry out these instructions, and for a time 
furnished one thousand dollars per month for relief 
work in these countries but later increased it to fif- 
teen hundred dollars per month. 

While France, Belgium, and Italy were torn by 
shot and shell, Armenia and Syria suffered more 
from other causes. The people were driven from 
their homes, robbed of their valuables, even to the 
clothing which they wore. Their crops were de- 


stroyed, or where it could be done, fSken to the 
Turkish army. Some were driven into deserts to die 
of starvation while others were required to sufifer 
tortures which were worse than death. Thousands 
died from these abuses. Some made their way to 
places of comparative safety such as Russia, Egypt, 
Jerusalem, or to some place in their own country 
where the danger was not so great. But what when 
they reached those places? In most cases there was 
not food sufficient to feed the residents, and because 
of the war food was both expensive and very hard 
to get. Besides, the ever present profiteers were 
getting and holding these things for higher prices. 
A very limited amount of relief work was done dur- 
ing the war, but this was done almost entirely 
through the missionaries, and was prhicipally g^ven 
to women and children because it was considered 
that men were better able to provide for themselves. 
When the war was over some villages in Syria and 
Armenia had lost about seventy per cent of their 
men by starvation. Newspapers presented conditions 
in heart-rending terms. 

The First Contingent Sent to the Near East 

Many people urged that the Church send some 
young men to the Near East to do reconstruction 
work, and thought that it might be an advantage to 
have a certain territory for which the Mennonites 
should make themselves responsible. As the Amer- 
ican Committee was about to send a number of men, 
the Committee invited the Mennonite Commission to 
send a number with them. At the same time there 
was more or less agitation that two older men 
should be sent along and get information first hand 


and bring it back to the Church. At a joint meeting 
of the Evxecutive Committee of the Mennonite Relief 
Commission, some members of the Eastern Men- 
nonite Board of Missions and Charities and mem- 
bers of the Lancaster and Franconia Conferences, 
held in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, January 
4, 1919, it was decided to accept the offer of the 
American Committee and send several young work- 
ers and two older ones who should go and remain 
long enough to get a fair first hand knowledge of 
conditions and return. Brethren Aaron Loucks, 
Scottdale, and William Derstine, Quakertown, both 
Pennsylvania, were selected to accompany the work- 

From Eye-witnesses 

A number of those who are responsible for this 
book thought that one of those who had been on the 
field in France, and one who had been connected 
with the work in the Near East should each write 
out some of their experiences and observations for 
this book. Brethren Vernon Smucker, then of 
Orrville, Ohio, and Orie O. Miller of Akron, Penn- 
sylvania, have been chosen, and it is a great pleasure 
to have their contributions follow: 

L Our Relief Work in France 
By Vernon Smucker 

On the afternoon of May 24, 1919, the steamship 
Orduna of the Cunard Line sailed out of New York 
Harbor for Liverpool, England. Brother S. E. All- 
g^-er and myself had left our homes some time be- 
fore this and for over a week had stopped at Phila- 
delphia where we were provided with the necessities 


for our voyage by the American Friends Service 
Committee, received passports, credentials, and other 
necessary papers, and then proceeded to New York 
in time to board the above mentioned vessel. We 
were on our way to France, sent by the Mennonite 
Relief Commission and the American Friends Service 
Committee to investigate the work which our Men- 
nonite brethren were doing in the war-stricken dis- 
tricts of France under the supervision of the Friends, 
as well as to bring them encouragement and cheer 
and to assure them of the support and good will of 
the Church at home in the work which they had 

After an exceptionally smooth and pleasant voy- 
age we landed at Liverpool, England, on June 2. 
The next day we proceeded to London where we 
were met and provided for by English Friends. A 
little over a day was spent here getting the neces- 
sary papers, etc., after which we left for Paris, arriv- 
ing there on the evening of June 5. A day was 
spent here in getting the required papers and creden- 
tials to travel in the war zone, and after an all-day 
trip from Paris we reached Clermont-en-Argonne on 
the evening of June 7. Our journey was uneventful 
but interesting, and everywhere we were shown the 
greatest courtesy. Travel in the war zone was then 
very much restricted. In fact no one was allowed to 
go there except by official permission based on good 
reasons. All our papers, passports, etc., were se- 
cured with the aid of the Friends who were a recog- 
nized relief agency and had established official con- 
nections, so that we experienced little or no diffi- 
culties along these lines. 

At the time of our arrival in France some over 


three hundred persons were associated in relief work 
in what was termed the Friends' Mission. Of these, 
the majority were Americans, though a number were 
English. In the early days of the work and during 
the war a majority of the workers in the Mission 
were English, but later the Americans predominated. 
Out of the number there in June, 1919, fifty-one 
were Mennonites. Two Mennonites had already re- 
turned to their homes after a year of service. This 
made a total of fifty-three who w^ere engaged in 
relief work in France. Five or six of this number 
were members of some of the smaller divisions in 
the central west, and not directly affiliated with the 
main branch of the Church, but the others were 
from our congregations in Pennsylvania, Virginia, 
Maryland, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, and 
Canada. With a few exceptions, all of the brethren 
had been to camp. Some were furloughed from 
camp in order that they might take up this work and 
others had gone after the signing of the armistice 
and their consequent release from all military obliga- 
tions. Some had spent time at the Ft. Leavenworth 
military prison and went to France directly after 
their release, though of course under no obligations 
to do so. 

We found the relief work in France thoroughly 
organized and efficiently conducted. One of the 
important phases of work was the building of tem- 
porary wooden houses in the war-stricken districts 
so as to enable the people to come back to their old 
homes from which they had been forced to flee dur- 
ing the war. In the southern part of France the 
Friends had established two factories, one at Dole 
and the other at Ornans, where houses were built 


in sections. The houses were two or three room 
structures, sometimes larger, and sometimes with a 
hangar or shed attached for the live stock which the 
family owned. The buildings were standardized, 
each section numbered or marked, and these sections 
shipped direct to the war-devastated areas A num- 
ber of our people, probably a dozen in all, were at 
one time or another stationed in these quiet villages, 
far from the scene of war and destruction, doing the 
routine work of building sections and shipping them 
to the north where they were erected as homes for 
the grateful French people. 

Previous to our visit in France the work of re- 
lief had been carried on in a more or less scattered 
area, but shortly before our arrival there the Red 
Cross gave over to the Friends what was known as 
the Verdun sector, where some of ^e hardest bat- 
tles of the war had been fought. This comprised a 
section almost two hundred square miles in area and 
in many places presented a most desolate aspect. 
Scores of once prosperous villages lay in ruins, some 
without one single habitable dwelling, others with 
some buildings which could be repaired, and still 
others which escaped more or less unharmed, though 
the latter were few. Barbed wire entanglements, 
trendies, shell-holes, mine-craters, ammunition, and 
various implements of war were everywhere in evi- 
dence and bore mute testimony to the fierceness and 
hatred with which the war had been waged. 

The main offices of the Friends* organization 
were at Paris, but the actual administration of the 
work was carried on from Grange-le-Comte, a large 
rural estate near Clermont-en-Argonne, in the prov- 
ince of Meuse, in the aforementioned Verdun sector. 


This was a busy place. Over one hundred workers 
were gathered here, taking care of the stores, sup- 
plies, etc., which were received here and then dis- 
tributed to the various smaller groups out in the sur- 
rounding villages. Probably twelve or fifteen of our 
brethren were stationed at Grange, helping in the 
various activities here. Over a hundred motor ve- 
hicles of various kinds, ranging from giant Liberty 
trucks to motorcycles, were gathered in the yard at 
night. It took a small corps of mechanics to keep 
these in repair, two of our brethren among them for 
a time. Immense stores of food supplies, clothing, 
and other necessaries of life were stored here, to be 
sent out to the smaller stations, or cqiiipes as they 
were called, for use both of the workers and of the 
French people. The old chateau was fitted up for 
offices and its walls redounded with the merry click 
of typewriters, while substantial outbuildings, tem- 
porary barracks and even tents did duty for furnish- 
ing shelter to the workers. A large mess hall or din- 
ing room was built and other temporary improve- 
ments were made. All this is mentioned to convey 
some idea of the kind and magnitude of the work in 
w^hich our brethren were engaged. 

The majority of our brethren who were not in 
the carpenter shops in southern France, or at Grange 
taking care of and sending out supplies, were sta- 
tioned in small villages within a radius of five or ten 
miles from Grange doing actual building work. 
Small groups, or equip es, composed of from five to 
twenty-five individuals, organized with a chef and a 
sous-chef (leader and assistant), would go out into 
a destroyed village, erect a temporary shelter until 
a building couki be set up, by some means get in 


touch with the mayor or some other pre-war official 
of the village, find out who wanted to return, who 
owned the Ijand, where they desired the building to 
be located, etc., and then, being furnished with house 
sections and supplies by the transport department, 
would prepare foundations and begin to erect hous- 
es. With four or five men working on one house it 
took an average of about two days or a little less to 
complete the house and have it ready for occupation 
by the family for which it was intended. Often the 
family would return even before the house was en- 
tirely completed. In some mysterious way the word 
went out that a village was being rebuilt and soon 
the refugees of that village would be coming back. 
Sometimes the houses would be erected on the same 
plot of ground on which the ruins of the old lay, and 
at other times the new houses were built on sort of 
a village common to one side of the ruined village. 
In this way villages which were wholly desolate 
would in the course of a few weeks or a few months 
become alive with returned refugees, and old neigh- 
bors would compare experiences during the past 
years of the war, congratulate themselves that it was 
all over, and once more begin their struggle for 
existence. A strange joy and good cheer seemed to 
radiate from each one, — for were they not again at 
home, in their own village, and on their own plot of 
ground ? 

Our brethren in the building work were not sent 
out in separate or distinctly Mennonite groups, but 
some were included in different groups, with the 
Friends and other workers. At one time there was 
a suggestion from our brethren themselves that they 
be sent out as Mennonite groups, but the suggestion 


was not looked upon with favor by the heads of the 
Mission and the brethren soon decided that perhaps 
it would not be for the best if they were thus sent 
out. In some of the groups none of our brethren 
were included, in others the number ranged from 
one to three, and in one of the groups there were at 
one time five and later eight Mennonites out of a 
total of not over ten or twelve in the whole group. 
This was very exceptional, however, and was a mat- 
ter of chance rather than deliberate design on the 
part of those in authority. It may be noted that this 
particular group surpassed any other in the number 
of houses erected in a given time, and while there 
may have been various reasons for this, the heads of 
the Mission attributed it to the faithful and con- 
scientious w^ork of "The Mennonites," holding this 
particular group up as an example for the others. 
It was partly the spirit of rivalry thus created which 
convinced our brethren of the undesirability of work- 
ing in separate groups, since there was danger that 
the rivalry might not always be friendly on the part 
of those groups that were surpassed in their own or- 
ganization by members of another denomination. 

But building houses and enabling the French 
people to come back to their homes did not end the 
responsibility of the relief workers. The country 
was devastated. All the live stock, farming tools, 
food supplies, etc., had been destroyed or carried ofif. 
The land was covered with barbed-wire, trenches, 
shell-holes, or ammunition, and it required time be- 
fore it could again be made productive. Meanwhile, 
and until railway service and shipping facilities were 
again restored to normal conditions, it was necessary 
that these people should be in some way provided 


for. Otherwise they would starve in their own 

To meet these conditions, stores were estab- 
lished in the different villages and goods were sold 
at cost, or less, to the returned refugees. Food sup- 
plies were made available and in cases of extreme 
need food and clothing were given away. As a rule, 
however, this was not necessary, and every effort 
was made to prevent the people from becoming 
pauperized. It will readily be seen that the trans- 
porting of goods was an important factor in giving 
relief and several of our brethren were busily en- 
gaged in this work, using the big Liberty trucks, 
which had been built for war and destruction, for 
bringing comfort and cheer to the needy. 

An agricultural department was also maintained 
and several of our brethren were engaged in that 
work. This consisted largely of plowing (either 
with horses or tractors), threshing grain, making 
hay, etc. These operations were not without their 
dangers, for sometimes an unexploded shell would 
lie in the field, or be buried just beneath the surface, 
needing only a touch at the proper place by the knife 
of the mower or the point of the plow to explode its 
deadly charge. Fortunately none of the relief work- 
ers were injured through any of these dangers. 
Mowers and various kinds of agricultural imple- 
ments were purchased "by the Mission and loaned to 
the farmers to aid them in gathering their crops. 
The work of the agricultural department was not by 
any means the least important phase of relief work 
in France. 

Among some of the other activities were such 
things as shipping goats, rabbits, chickens, and bees 
from other parts of France to the war-stricken reg- 
ions and distributing them among the people. One 


of our brethren was on a goat-buying expedition in 
southern France when we arrived at Clermont, and 
others were at some time or other engaged in some 
of the other activities. An effort was made by the 
heads of the Mission to give each man work along 
the line for which he was best fitted and trained. 
All of the work required self-reliance and courage 
in the strange surroundings, as well as the skill 
necessary to perform the needful tasks. 

Dentists, doctors, nurses, and sanitary experts 
were also included among the workers of the Mis- 
sion. Aside from looking after the health and well- 
being of the more than three hundred relief work- 
ers, they made regular trips to the surrounding vil- 
lages and ministered to the needs of the French peo- 
ple. During the war, a maternity hospital was' 
maintained at Chalons, where large numbers of 
mothers and new-born babes were temporarily cared 
for. This hospital has since been endowed by the 
Friends and established on a permanent basis as a 
memorial of the relief work done in France and the 
good will which prompted this service. 

We were privileged to have a number of relig- 
ious services w^ith the brethren during the time we 
spent in their midst. Communion service was held 
in a smail tent on one Sunday in the little shell-torn 
village of Aubreville, and at another time a two-day 
meeting was held, where subjects of general religious 
interest and concern were discussed. The brethren 
were much interested in hearing news from the 
home Gharch and seemed deeply grateful for the 
greetings and good wishes which we were privileged 
to briog them. We were pleased to learn that in a 
number o£ cases they had taken the initiative in 


starting Sunday schools in the equipes in which they 
were working, and many of them exercised a very- 
commendable religious zeal in their work and ac- 

The executive heads of the Friends' organization 
spoke very highly of the work and character of the 
great majority of our brethren and expressed them- 
selves as being highly pleased with their efforts. 
They gave them positions of responsibility, the same 
as their own men, and attributed a due share of the 
success of their undertaking to the work of the Men- 
nonite boys, as well as to the financial aid given by 
the Mennonite Church. 

The work naturally had a marked effect on the 
French people. Their attitude was kind and hospit- 
able throughout. They soon learned that these men 
were opposed to war, and that they were doing" 
these deeds of kindness not from any selfish mo- 
tives but because of definite religious convictions. 
And while there was always the barrier of language 
to their free intercourse, yet we are sure that the 
language of love and good will is understood every- 
where, without regard to race, color, or creed, and 
no one can tell what the final result of the work will 

There is another class of people who will always 
remember the relief workers. Numerous prison 
camps were located in the area in which the work 
was done, where thousands of German prisoners of 
war awaited the final signing and ratifying of the 
peace treaty. A number of these prisoners were 
employed in working for the French and also for 
the Friends' Mission, giving the men an opportunity 
to come in direct contact with them. Many friend- 


ships were formed and many expressions of grati- 
tude were heard from the German prisoners toward 
those whom they had considered their enemies, but 
whom they now recognized as the enemies of none, 
and from whom they had received the first kind and 
considerate treatment that had been accorded them 
for months and in many cases years. Since these 
prisoners could not be recompensed for their work, 
and since the Friends' Mission did not feel that they 
could conscientiously employ prison labor as such, 
a careful record was taken of the home, family, and 
condition of every prisoner who worked for them, 
and later, during the winter of 1919-20, they sent 
three relief workers, including one of our brethren, 
into Germany to look up the families of these prison- 
ers, give them all the news possible of son or hus- 
band or brother from whom nothing had been heard 
for so long, and pay them a fair wage for all the 
time which the prisoner had spent in the employ of 
the relief workers. Many touching incidents were 
met with in these visitations, and many never-to-be- 
forgotten impressions were received by both the 
visitors and the visited. 

We believe that the m©ney which we as a 
Church contributed to this work was well and effi- 
ciently spent and that the work which our brethren 
helped to do was necessary and important. We be- 
lieve too that such of our brethren who faithfully let 
their lights shine in their work were blessed and 
made a blessing to those with whom they came in 
contact, and that many real opportunities were pre- 
sented for faithfully witnessing for Christ and mak- 
ing known His teachings. To the extent that these 
opportunities were made use of we believe that our 


participation in this relief work was a blessing to the 
Church in general and a much needed help to those 
who were in distress. 

We spent about four weeks on the field, living 
with the brethren in the diflferent cqiiipcs and get- 
ting all the first-hand knowledge and information 
possible. On July 9 the writer sailed for home on a 
troop transport from Brest, France, while Brother 
Allgyer spent a month longer in visiting among the 
Mennonite communities in France, Alsace, and 
Switzerland. The latter arrived home in time for a 
report to the General Conference held at Harrison- 
burg, Va., during the latter part of August, 1919. 

II. Our Relief Work in the Near East and Russia 

By Orie O. Miller 
At the meeting held in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 
the following few general decisions were made: first, 
that the invitation of the American Committee for 
opening work in Turkey and for sending over a 
group of workers, be accepted ; second, that about a 
dozen brethren be appointed to constitute this first 
group ; third that the brethren Aaron Loucks and 
William Derstine be appointed as leaders for this 
unit. They were instructed to accompany the Unit 
to the field, to direct the opening of the work, to 
determine its further policies, and after a few months 
to return to America and submit a report of their 
findings to the Relief Commission. Next, a list of 
l)raspective workers was drawn up. This included 
Mennonite men who were still in camps, others who 
had volunteered for service with the Friends' relief 
work in Europe, and other suggested names of those 


thought to be interested in such work. Within three 
weeks eleven young men had accepted this invitation 
for service, and were appointed. 

Near East Relief 

On January 25, 1919, the first group of nine, 
sailed from New York on the Relief ship *'Pensa- 
cola" direct for Beirut, Syria. Besides the brethren 
Loucks and Derstine, there were : Silas Hertzler of 
Newport News, Va. ; Chris Graber of Noble, Iowa ; 
Ezra Deter of Morrison, Illinois; Wm. and Frank 
Stoltzfus of Lima, Ohio; David Zimmerman and 
Orie O. Miller of Ephrata, Penna. Thirty-three 
non-Mennonite relief workers sailed on this same 
ship. The cargo consisted of several thousand tons 
of relief supplies including clothing, cloth, shoes, 
sewing machines, food, medicines, complete hospital 
and surgical equipment for twenty, one-hundred bed 
hospitals, several hundred auto trucks, etc. To 
Beirut was a trip of twenty-six days. At this time 
of the year the Atlantic Ocean is usually stormy and 
rough, and this trip was no exception. The stormy 
weather, the poor accommodations for living and 
sleeping on shipboard, and the poor food which was 
provided during most of the journey, kept all except 
the most hardy ones from enjoying the trip as they 
otherwise would have done. There were Turkish 
language lessons every day, and usually a lecture in 
the evening describing the land and the people of 
Turkey or discussing some phase of the work await- 
ing us. There were a number of books along these 
same lines available for reading, and among our own 
group there were daily Bible study and devotional 
hours. These various activities made the time pass 


quickly and profitably for all those who could take 
advantage of them. 

It was with a good deal of eagerness, but also 
with considerable anxiety, that . we first sighted 
Beirut. This city was destined to be the scene of 
the whole year's service for some of us. Seven Men- 
nonite workers, and three of the others with a good- 
ly portion of the supplies were left at this port. The 
brethren Loucks and Derstine continued with the 
ship to Derindji, which is a small port on the Gulf 
of Ismid, and about fifty miles distant from Con- 
stantinople. They understood from the New York 
officials of the American Relief Committee that our 
Unit was to be located north of Syria, perhaps in 
Cilicia. This section would be more accessible from 
Constantinople than from Beirut. At Constantinople 
was the American Committee's main foreign office, 
and there the final arrangements for our work need- 
ed to be concluded. 

Beirut is the port and largest city in the Leb- 
anon. This district lies at the east end of the Medi- 
terranean, between the ports of Tyre and Latakia. 
The length of its coast line is over a hundred miles 
and its average breadth about thirty. This region 
was nominally a part of pre-war Turkey, but the 
Lebanese always enjoyed a certain degree of in- 
dependence. For instance, their men could not be 
conscripted into Turkish military service. As the 
war progressed this fact irritated the Turks more 
and more. Partly in retaliation, Lebanon had its 
food supply cut off. These rugged mountaineers 
had for generations past terraced and cultivated 
their rough mountain sides until every available foot 
of ground was made to produce; but still their 


wheat, sugar, beans, and material for clothing all 
came from the outside. After these supplies were 
entirely cut off they suffered terribly. As the Turk- 
ish hatred of the Armenian resulted in deportations, 
so here their hatred of the Syrian resulted in a sys- 
tematic starvation of a whole people. Out of a 
population of five hundred thousand more than one 
hundred and fifty thousand starved or died from the 
effects of starvation within a period of two years. 
Whole villages were depopulated, the houses left in 
ruins, the vineyards and orange groves neglected. 
Those who had not died there had gone to the larg- 
er cities in search of food. 

Three and a half months previous to our arrival 
the American Red Cross had extended its work 
north from Jerusalem into Syria with headquarters 
at Beirut. Their workers had gone into these large 
cities and in the sub-districts into which the sur- 
rounding area was divided and relief was organized. 
Industrial workshops had been opened where women 
and girls were employed at a minimum living wage. 
At one time three thousand were so employed in 
Beirut alone. Here, at Sidon, Beirut, Damascus and 
at a number of other places orphanages had been 
opened into which were put full orphans and home- 
less children as they were picked off the streets or 
brought in from out-of-the-way places. In various 
centers soup kitchens were opened where a daily 
serving of soup and bread was issued to properly in- 
vestigated needy cases. Hospitals, clinics, medical 
dispensaries, departments of clothing distribution, 
provided for the relief of other needy classes. At 
first all of the new workers helped in that organiza- 
tion. The understanding with the officials of the 


Red Cross was that as soon as we would be called 
for by the brethren who had gone on to Constanti- 
nople, we would be released at Beirut. 

Farther north in the Aleppo area the situation 
was worse in some respects and better in others. 
The plains about Aleppo for miles and miles are in- 
habited by Arabs. These are a nomadic people, 
moving east with their flocks and herds in winter 
and away from the desert as the hot, dry season 
comes on. They live on a lower stage of civilization 
than the Syrians. Their needs are very simple. 
Milk and meat for food, wool and hides for clothing 
are all furnished by their flocks. They usually camp 
long enough in one place during the summer to pro- 
duce a few vegetables. A few cooking utensils and 
their weapons for fighting are about all they need 
from the outside world. They also suffered by the 
war but not so severely. But into this region the 
Armenians were deported. From all points of Asia 
Minor these lines of fleeing, persecuted, driven refu- 
gees converged towards Aleppo. Thousands and 
tens of thousands died along the way. The roads by 
which they came from Mardin, Marash, Caesarea, 
and the other large cities of the north were lined 
with their bleaching bones. But many succeeded in 
reaching Aleppo. After arriving they found no 
shelter, no food, no work. The Red Cross opened 
industrial shops, gave men work in building roads, 
distributed bread and soup in outdoor kitchens, fur- 
nished blankets, clothing, and hospital facilities, re- 
leased Armenian girls from Turkish harems and 
made an effort to get people back to their homes. 
Here also our men helped out wherever they couhl. 

About five weeks passed during which we had 


no news from Brethren Loucks and Derstine. Dur- 
ing this time the terms of several of the Red Cross 
workers expired. Others resigned and left. Some 
of our men were appointed to fill these vacancies 
which were positions of considerable responsibility. 
There were similar places in prospect for the others. 
In the meantime the two leaders who had gone on to 
Constantinople were disappointed in the attitude 
taken by Relief Committee officials there towards 
our mission. Because of Bro. Derstine's mechanical 
ability his services were, however, for a time, almost 
indispensable at Derindji. Here hundreds of motor 
trucks were being assembled for carrying supplies 
into the interior. He was given general charge of 
this work for this short time. Bro. Loucks accom- 
panied the first train load of relief supplies through 
Anatolia and into Cilicia, investigating conditions 
enroute. At Adana he left the train, spent a few 
w^eeks in helping to unload the supplies there, and 
in becoming acquainted with the need in Adana, 
Tarsus, and surrounding parts. The New York of- 
fice had suggested that we work as a Unit in this 
section. The conclusions of Bro. Loucks were that 
no opening existed for such work there, and he 
shortly returned for Bro. Derstine. Together they 
looked over this field again, and the above conclu- 
sions were confirmed in the minds of both. With 
this investigation they felt their work was done. It 
was deemed inadvisable to make further efforts to 
organize an independent Mennonite work. They ar- 
rived at Beirut on March 29 and spent Sunday with 
the group there, before continuing their journey to 
America. The workers at Beirut were disappointed 
in this report, but soon adjusted themselves to the 


thought of spending the whole year's service in the 
Syrian field. 

On April I the management, control, and sup- 
port of the work being done by the American 
Red Cross was transferred to the American Com- 
mitte for relief in the Near East. This made all of 
us regular members of the organization personnel. 
So while we were disappointed in not being able to 
organize a distinctly Mennonite Unit under the di- 
rect supervision of our Relief Commission, all but 
one became members of this larger Syria Unit whose 
headquarters was Beirut. James H. Nicol, a mis- 
sionary in Syria of ten years, who had organized and 
conducted the work of the Red Cross in Beirut, was 
continued as director of the work done by the 
American Committee for Relief in this same field. 
He most sympathetically and understandingly en- 
tered into the purposes and ideals that had brought 
us to the field. His attitude tended to make the 
work agreeable to our men. Each of them consid- 
ered him a personal friend. 

The Syria field was divided into the Beirut and 
the Aleppo areas, and each of these areas into seven 
districts. In each one of these districts a small 
American Relief Unit was organized. In most of 
them the work was divided into four departments as 
follows: Orphanage, industrial, medical, and general 
relief. At the head of each department was placed 
an American worker with a staff of native assistants. 
In charge of the whole Unit was a local director, 
assisted in his work by a unit treasurer and a man- 
ager of transportation and supplies. Different units 
may have varied slightly in organization. Special 
needs may have required still other departments, 


'hmt usually the unit was made up of from six to 
ei^ht American workers. This group lived together 
as one family and w^ere given a great deal of freedom 
iBii -working out local policies and in determining how 
tliMiir monthly budget should be spent. They were 
cJcpendent on the headquarters office at Beirut for 
tJateir funds, their supplies, their new personnel, and 
tbe decision on the larger general policies of giving 
relief. In Beirut were the treasurer's and executive 
-offices for the field, and large warehouses filled with 

All kinds and types of workers were needed in 
3im organization of this kind. Our men were pe- 
€U)laarly fitted for certain phases of this work. Grad- 
iically they were distributed over the entire field. 
E^inest Miller and Jesse Smucker were both assigned 
t& Mardin, and worked there for some months. Bro. 
Simucker opened and conducted the boys' orphanage 
matil he was sent with two other workers to organ- 
ize work at Diabeker. He finished his term as treas- 
nfer of that unit, charge of the supplies, and carried 
OFB relief work in a few of the most needy villages 
alcN^ut the city. Bro. Miller began his term at Mar- 
<ff'r3 as manager of transport and supplies. After 
Biro, Smucker left he also took charge of the boys' 
^Kfplianage, and during the last six months of his 
ijsf-nj was the director of the Mardin unit. Paul Sny- 
der served a short time as mechanic in the auto re- 
pair shop at Aleppo, but was stationed for the bal- 
aiiace of the year at Marash, where he had charge of 
transport and supplies. He was one of the few 
Aioaerican workers who remained at his post during 
At siege of that city, and was a personal witness to 
tfeffi: horrors of the Marash massacre which occurred 


in February, 1920. Chris Gra'ber was stationed in Bei- 
rut until the latter part of May, working principally 
in the transport department. He was then transferred 
to Aleppo and for a short time had charge of the 
supplies for that area, and then was placed at the 
head of the Armenian refugee work in that city. 
There were at times as many as eight thousand 
Armenians in the army barracks in which the com- 
mittee sheltered them. In these barracks was a fully 
equipped hundred and fifty bed hospital, workshops, 
providing employment for the women, an orphanage, 
and soup kitchens furnishing a daily serving of fomi 
to all. The men were grouped in squads and given 
work on the roads. The strain of looking after tMs 
work coupled with Aleppo's unhealthy climate af- 
fected Bro. Graber's health. After a month in the 
hospital he was allowed to return to Beirut, and 
after a few weeks further rest there he was sent to- 
open work in the Antioch district. He was iin 
charge of this unit during the remainder of his term- 
Ezra Deter was stationed in Beirut, and spent the 
first half of his term in hauling supplies to the var- 
ious out-stations with one of the big G. M. C. trucks- 
He was later assigned to Aleppo and succeeded 
Chris Graber there as manager of supplies. He com- 
pleted his term there. After a few months service in 
the Beirut transport department both Wm. Stoltzfos 
and Silas Hertzler were assigned to the Sidon dis- 
trict. Bro. Stoltzfus became the director of the work 
in this district, and Bro. Hertzler had charge of 
three hundred boys in the orphanage. Until July, 
1920, Frank Stoltzfus assisted in hauling supplies; 
from Beirut to the outstations, and then was as- 
signed special work at Jerusalem. Here was a wdl 


'equipped orphanage of five hundred children. He 
was assistant director of the institution, and had 
cfnargc of the educational work in the orphanage. 
David Zimmerman was given charge of the motor 
transport and repair department at Beirut very soon 
^fter his arrival on the field. He continued in this 
capacity during his whole term of service with the 
AmerJtan Committee. His special qualifications as 
a mechanic made him very useful for special work 
at the various out-stations. He and the writer were 
the only two of the group who remained at Beirut 
tliroughout the year. Until May 1 I assisted in 
the supply department, and from that time was its 
<|jrector. On August 1 I was given additional 
■«liities as director of the Beirut district, and a month 
later became the assistant director of the Syria field. 

Leon Myers left the second unit of Mennonite 
workers at Constantinople and gave his first year 
<>t service in Asia Minor in the Marsovan area. He 
had charge of a number of motor trucks, which were 
kept busy carrying supplies from the coast towns to 
the far interior stations. During his second year on 
the field he was stationed at Constantinople and 
operated the Near Elast relief bakery. The capacity 
-of this plant was eighteen thousand loaves of bread 
per day. 

In July. 1919, A. M. Eash of Chicago, 111., and 
John Warye of West Liberty, Ohio, arrived on the 
field. Bro. Eash was at once appointed director of 
tilje Syrian Orphanage at Jerusalem, where he re- 
Ttnained for a period of two years. Br6. Warye was 
asfisgned to the Caesarea area in Asia Minor. He 
organized and conducted industrial work among the 
.orphan boys. 


In December, 1919, Chris Augsburgcr of West 
Liberty, Ohio, Ernest H. Miller of Fentress, V'iii-- 
ginia, and Eli Stoltzfus of Lima, Ohio, reacbcd 
Constantinople and were all three assigned work an 
the Syrian field. The administration in Beirut cailed 
for another group of Mennonite workers early h«» 
1920. On April 8 of that year this group reacfe©d 
Beirut. Roy Kaufman of West Liberty, Ohio, Ray 
Bender of Springs, Pennsylvania, Martin Weaver <»f 
Newton, Kansas, Milo Zimmerman of Harper, Kaias- 
as, Roy Myers of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Datxadt^ 
Stoltzfus of Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, Fred Swarte^ 
endruber of Wayland, Iowa, and Menno NussbacMTM 
of Orrville, Ohio, were in this last group. Tt&cse- 
men took in large measure the places vacated by the- 
first group of eleven whose term of one year had cse- 
pired. In all twenty-five men have been recommend- 
ed and sent out by our Relief Commission, for woolc 
in this field. Twenty-three of the total number ha^i©' 
given their service in the Syria field. 

In Syria the common language is Arabic. Ooit- 
side of the coast cities, where the population is 
mixed, the race is also Arabic. Missionary wofflc 
has been done among these people for over a hma- 
dred years. The Presbyterian mission has organized 
native churches in all of the larger cities and towns^ 
and in many of them has schools of various grades- 
and kinds. The American University oif Beirnnt 
furnishes a course of training which compares well 
with the best colleges of our own country. So«KMr 
of the American missionaries, and of the College 
teachers, as well as large numbers of the natiV<e 
Christians and students became a part of the ReKwdf 
organization. The work would have been impossiMe 


without their help. This in turn has given our own 
workers a close and intimate association and contact 
with the missionary movements and problems in 
that part of the foreign field. Such an opportunity 
for studying foreign missions in a first hand way 
has probably not come to any group of our people 
before. In the minds of the native people our men 
were classed with the missionaries. These condi- 
tions presented numerous opportunities of witness- 
ing for Christ and His teachings. Among the mis- 
sionaries and the other relief workers our men were 
always designated as the Mennonite group. This 
gave many real opportunities for an explanation of 
our attitude towards war as well as of other special 
points for which we stand. The year's experience 
has tested in a practical way the reality of these be- 
liefs for every man. 

The first of the regular workers returned in 
April, 1920. The terms of service were for one year. 
Every worker who has returned, remained on the 
field longer than his agreement required. The Near 
East Relief organization has in many ways shown 
its appreciation for the particular service rendered 
by our workers, as well as for the generous support 
given the work by our people. Our men seem to 
have filled a needed place in the Relief program, and 
a lasting work has 'been accomplished. 

Russian Relief 

Early in 1919, sentiment developed urging the 
Mennonite Relief Commission to investigate needs 
and conditions in South Russia, and to consider ex- 
tending relief operations into that country. Russia's 
suffering from the result of the World War, and her 


economic collapse following the revolutions were 
common knowledge by this time. The fact that 
Civil War continued to rage for two more years in 
various sections of South Russia, where large col- 
onies of Mennonites lived, drew the attention of the 
Mennonite Church in America to this particular 
country. The Relief Commission took the first of- 
ficial action in August, 1919. A committee of three 
of the workers in France were appointed to proceed 
to South Russia, investigate conditions, and submit 
a report of their findings. The brethren Alvin J. 
Miller, Roy Allgyer, and A. E. Hiebert composed 
this committee. They visited Oressa, Sebastopol, and 
sections about these two cities, and reported the 
existence of an alarming and terrible need. They 
recommended the immediate shipment of a quantity 
of clothing and medical supplies and the sending of 
a Unit of workers. The Commission proceeded at 
once in line with these recommendations. Several 
definite proposals from other organizations for co- 
operative efforts were considered, but nothing def- 
inite was undertaken for some months. 

In June, 1920, a delegation from the Mennonites 
of South Russia came to the United States. They 
were appointed and sent to solicit help for the Men- 
nonites of their country, and to find a new location 
to which their people might emigrate. These four 
men came into touch with the various branches of 
the Church, but spent most of their time in the mid- 
dle west, where previous groups of Russian Menno- 
nite immigrants had settled. As a result of their 
visit, the interest in their particular field grew in 
every branch of the Mennonite Church in this coun- 


About this same time, several of the returned 
relief workers from Syria suggested sending a small 
unit as far as Constantinople. Such a unit actually 
so near the field, having on hand supplies and funds, 
might be in better position to make arrangements 
for entering South Russia than would be possible 
from this countr}^ The Near East Relief offered 
to assist such a project in whatever ways they 
could, and further suggested that, should the way 
into Russia be closed, relief work be organized for 
the Russian refugees in and about Constantinople. 
The Relief Commission considered these suggestions 

The next important development, was the or- 
ganization of the Mennonite Central Committee, un- 
der whose direction work was finally begun, and is 
still being conducted. In July, 1920, at Elkhart, 
Indiana, representatives from the various Mennonite 
bodies came together, and as a result of action taken 
at that meeting, the Central Committee was formed. 
It consists of six members, one being appointed by 
each of the Relief Committees co-operating in South 
Russian Relief. Its function is to co-ordinate the 
efforts of these different committees. This commit- 
tee appoints and sends workers, determines the 
monthly budget, and makes the final decision on 
general relief policies. 

During August, a church-wide effort was made 
to gather a quantity of new and used clothing for 
distribution on the field. In most of the local con- 
gregations and in at least one conference district, 
this campaigTi was conducted by the Sisters* Sewing 
Circles. More than forty thousand garments were 
given, beakies quantities of bedding, cloth and mend- 


ing material. In September a shipment of twenty- 
five tons was sent to Constantinople. A unit consist- 
ing of Arthur Slagel of Flanagan, Illinois, Clayton 
Kratz of Blooming Glen, Pennsylvania, and Orie O. 
Miller of Akron, Pennsylvania, was appointed. Au- 
thority was given to open the work on a minimum 
budget of ten thousand dollars per month. On Sep- 
tember first, by the steamer Providence, we sailed 
from New York for Naples, Italy. After a stay in 
Italy of eight days, we secured passage on another 
steamer, and landed at Constantinople on Sept. 27. 
All of us were strangers in this city. After 
securing temporary hotel accommodations, we pro- 
ceeded to get in touch with government officials who 
would help us in continuing the journey across the. 
Black Sea. Since we represented an independent 
Mennonite Relief Unit, considerable explanation was 
necessary as to our motives, plans, and purposes, so 
that our mission could be properly understood. In 
every case there was a sympathetic and helpful in- 
terest in our efforts. The Near East Relief in Con- 
stantinople expressed the same willingness to be of 
assistance as had their New York office earlier. The 
U. S. Government officials at the embassy gave us 
the same recognition, and granted the same facilities 
and privileges that they did to any other American 
Relief organization. The American Red Cross, who 
already had an organization in the Crimea, were 
pleased to have us help in the relief of that needy 
section. The later attitude of these various organ- 
izations was entirely in accord with the attitudes 
they took in the beginning. Without their assist- 
ance the work would hardly have been possible. The 
help and advice given by others of both American 


and Russian nationality was most valuable to us. 
They were men whose experience had put them in 
vital touch with conditions existing in Russia. 

After arranging for Brother Slagel to remain in 
Constantinople, where he could continue to represent 
our interests, Brother Kratz and I sailed on October 
2, by American destroyer for Sebastopol, Cri- 
mea. This port was reached five days later. At 
that time the Crimea, and a goodly portion of South 
Russia just north of the Crimea, was under the con- 
trol of the anti-Bolshevist leader, Baron WrangeL 
The first few days there were spent in getting in 
touch with American and Russian officials who could 
grant us permit and facilities for travel in the in- 
terior of the country, and also to acquaint them with 
the work we had in mind to do, so that the same 
could later be organized and carried on unhindered. 
We learned also of the actual work being done by 
the American Red Cross, and worked out with their 
officials a scheme whereby Avhat we had in mind, 
would supplement and not overlap what they were 
doing. Several Mennonite families lived in this city 
as refugees. We lived with one of these during our 
stay. They gave us information concerning the 
needs among their people farther north, and in part 
prepared us for conditions as we saw them a little 

On October 6 we left Sdbastopol for a two 
week's journey into the interior. Twenty-four hours 
by train brought us to our first stop, Melitopol. 
Here we spent our first Sunday on Russian soil, and 
during the day attended the Mennonite services 
there. On the following day the journey was con- 
tinued by carriage to Halbstadt, which is the most 


important town in the largest colony of Mennonites 
in Russia. During- the next few days we could see 
and get first hand information of the need existing 
there. This section of Russia had been overrun re- 
peatedly by the fighting armies as well as by roving 
bands of robbers. The people had been repeatedly 
robbed of practically all their movable possessions. 
Some of their leading men had been cruelly mur- 
dered and the women defamed and diseased. Typhus 
had been brought into these Mennonite communities 
by the soldiers, and large numbers had died from 
the disease. The people had become poor, miser- 
able, and their outlook hopeless. We met with their 
relief organizations, and together worked out plans 
for the distribution of the funds and supplies among 
them which had been sent us from America, and 
Avhich were then waiting at Constantinople. Plans 
were made for the opening of orphanages, helping 
the hospitals, the distribution of clothing and in giv- 
ing other relief of a general nature. We then jour- 
neyed on to Alexandrovsk, which was the center of 
another large Mennonite community, saw even a 
greater need there, and worked out similar plans for 
helping them. Brother Kratz then returned to Halb- 
stadt, where he began the organization of the work 
in preparation for the coming of the supplies, while 
I returned to Sebastopol, and after a few days pro- 
cured passage back to Constantinople. 

Brother Slagel and I gathered otir supplies and 
he had just left Constantinople in charge of this ship- 
ment when the news of Wrangel's defeat reached us. 
It was then that I made another short trip to Sebas- 
topol, but was there only long enough to leave a few 
written suggestions for the further conduct of the 


work. These were left with the Mennonite families, 
and were to be given to Brother Kratz, as soon as 
communication would again be established between 
them and Halbstadt. I also succeeded in bringing 
along back to Constantinople about two-thirds of 
the supplies belonging to the Unit. After the return 
from this trip, the prospects for work such as we 
had planned were poor indeed. 

With Baron Wrangel's defeat and flight from 
Russia there came to Constantinople about 130,000 
Russian refugees. Over eighty per cent of these were 
soldiers or officers of his army. The remainder were 
either families of these soldiers or those who lives 
would be in danger under Soviet government be- 
cause of their past anti-Bolshevik actions. Of this 
number there were nearly two hundred Mennonites. 
One hundred five ships brought this army of refu- 
gees across the Black Sea. Many of them had to 
stay on these ships for over two weeks. The situa- 
tion soon became appalling. Here was our oppor- 
tunity. In various ways the Unit was soon aiding 
in their relief. Efforts were made to get these peo- 
ple back again into normal self-supporting life, either 
by findii% them work in that vicinity or arranging 
for their emigration to countries where friends could 
assist them. An orphanage was opened in which 
homeless and under-nourished Russian refugee chil- 
dren could be temporarily cared for, until parents 
could again assume such responsibility. Later, after 
Brother Slagel succeeded in bringing the supplies 
back to Constantinople, a department was organized 
for distributing the new and used clothing that had 
been sent from America. In these and various other 
ways efforts were made towards an efficient distribu- 


tion of the funds and supplies that had been put at 
our disposal. 

Early in December Frank Stoltzfus of Lima, 
Ohio, and Joseph Brunk of Denbigh, Virginia, came 
from America to assist in this work. On March 29, 
1921, Vesta Zook of Topeka, Indiana, and Vinora 
Weaver of Goshen, Indiana, sailed from New York 
to join the Unit. Before leaving Constantinople on 
my return to America, policies were drawn up and 
adopted by the Unit for the further conduct of the 
work in that city, and for its extension again into 
South Russia. There the need exists in a larger 
way, affecting the whole population, and there relief 
can be given which might do a more permanent 
good. That is the section for which the work was 
undertaken in the first place. 

As a distinctly Mennonite Relief Unit, this has 
been a new extension or department in the work of 
our Church. In a missionary way opportunities 
have come to our workers, such as has not been pos- 
sible in any relief work which the Church has sup- 
ported hitherto. The workers are taking advantage 
of these opportunities to the extent of their ability 
and time. But it will be the duty of later writers to 
note the lasting effects of a distinctly Mennonite re- 
lief work on the general missionary extension pro- 
gram of the Church. 


The Teacher 

Teaching implies that there is a teacher and one 
or more pupils ; that the majority of those taught, 
whether they like the teacher or not, will try to 
work out the lessons while the teacher simply guides 
the minds of the pupils. The latter form their own 
conclusions. It need not imply that the lessons 
taught are pleasant, nor that the pupil will want to 
live in the elements embodied in the lessons. Some 
lessons are very practical and are intended for im- 
mediate use; others simply teach how to avoid cer- 
tain results, and keep from things which lead to sad 
experiences. The war was a hard and cwel teacher, 
but it is to be hoped that some of its lessons have 
been well learned, even by the world, but especially 
by Christians. 

War Has Taught Conservation 

War has taught lessons on conservation along 
many lines. We can live on bread that is made from 
a combination of grains; it need not be pure, spring 
wheat. A person can get along with two pounds of 
sugar per month. We got along without using the 
automobile on Sunday. It is both convenient and 
economical to "Use the back of the tetter for the 
carbon copy of the answer." Man can work hard 


and get along with very little meat. The list might 
be greatly lengthened. The purpose of all this was 
not that we might be able to add to our bank ac- 
count (In some cases these economics cost more 
than the thing saved) but that some one else might 
have what we did not actually need. Save, conserve, 
economize, were words that went from ocean to 
ocean and from the Frigid Zone to the Gulf. No one 
meant that these bodies should not have all that was 
needed, but that everything should be used sparingly 
and to the best possible advantage and to be select- 
ed with the good of the whole people in mind. 

Some bowed to those teachings at once and got 
many benefits from these laws and proclamations — 
things which will be helpful in times of peace as 
well as in war. They sought cheaper foods, studied 
the comparative nutrient values, weighed these with 
the costs, and made purchases accordingly. Farm- 
ers studied their crops in connection with the labor 
problem as never before. How to accomplish the 
most with the least outlay, and yet comply with the 
wishes of Government in increasing the production 
was a trying question, but farmers in general went 
at it with a determination to make the best of the 
situation. The classes which tried to meet the prob- 
lem of sacrifice in this way were greatly benefited, 
and after the war they were in a positiq^ to adjust 
themselves in the reconstruction which must always 
follow in the path of the war. But the class which 
rebelled and refused to conserve except when driven 
to it, closed their eyes to the demands ol Govern- 
ment. The war is over. They were compelled to 
yield in many things, but they learned lio Wesson of 


profit because they gave no room for the spirit of 
sacrifice and co-operation. 

Conserving for the Kingdom of God 

The Church learned all of the above and more. 
She learned that she is better off by using greater 
economy even in some of the necessaries of life. 
She learned how to make more money and give more 
for the Lord's cause. Never before had she given 
so largely; she would not have considered it possi- 
ble. More than all, she learned that it was possible 
to get along when a large per cent of her young men 
were taken away from her, and that for a cause 
which she could not endorse. The fact that she has 
been largely rural has helped her to conserve her 
man-power to the Church. Let her keep all these 
things in mind and conserve them for the kingdom 
of God ; the young men and women, the accumulat- 
ing wealth, the thought power that had been devoted 
to the war; let all of these be as freely used for the 
ingathering of the lost as they were to fill the army 
camps and disciplinary barracks, but let it be done 
willingly and not grudgingly. Conserve, not to add 
acre to acre or bond to bond, but soul to soul ; to 
add to freedom that which is freedom indeed. 

Worldly Insecurity 

Another lesson which the war should have 
taught every one is that of worldly insecurity. Peo- 
ple were depending largely on the freedom and in- 
dependence of the country, prosperity was enjoyed 
by humanity at large, peace societies were organized 
and were growing strong, and people thought that 
a great war was an impossibility; but the war has 
taught us the truth that so long as we are in this 


world we may expect difficulties between nations 
and that so long as people have false notions as to 
what constitutes national honor, so long wars will 
not be unknown. 

The Influenza 

As the war was across the sea the people who 
remained in this country considered themselves 
reasonably safe. Many prayers went up in behalf of 
those who crossed the briny deep, but little thought 
was given as to the dangers at home ; but when the 
influenza came (the war was responsible for this 
also) and swept more people into their graves than 
the war did, some realized more and more that life 
was very insecure. 

Mine, yet not Mine 

Before the war it was a common thought that if 
one had money, that he was at liberty to use it as he 
pleased so long as he did not violate the laws of the 
land. Independence was prominent. **This is mine,'* 
was a common expression and usually meant that no 
one had any right to dictate in regard to the use that 
was made of it, and if someone was presumptuous 
enough to try to do so, no attention would be gi\ren 
to the demands. When liberty bond or Red 
Cross drives were on, regardless of one's conscien- 
tious scruples against abetting war, others came and 
said, "You will donate so much to the Red Cross," 
or, "You will buy so many bonds." To refuse, in 
many cases, meant persecution. In some cases cat- 
tle were driven away, homes ransacked, houses 
daubed with paint inside and out, bodies covered 
with tar and feathers or otherwise tortnred, and all 
done in the name of "loyalty." But it was a kind of 


loyalty which received no sanction from the war 
department nor from any right-thinking people. At 
the same time it showed how insecure was all that 
was earthly. The sad part about it is that it took 
the horrors of war to teach such a meager lesson — 
one that all should have realized and acted upon 
Tvrithout a war, either small or great. 

The Folly of Militarism 

That armies and navies are absolutely no ade- 
quate preparation for defense had been shown many 
times but was probably never so manifest as in the 
late war. Germany had a mighty army, well trained 
in military tactics, had the best equipped munitions 
plants in the world, had all the latest inventions for 
causing destruction and death that could be found ; 
but at the end of four years of warfare she found 
herself defeated, humiliated, with dictated peace 
terms, under conditions that a refusal to accept 
would have meant more of the same kind of humilia- 
tion and harder peace terms. She is a hated, bank- 
rupt nation, and her children yet unborn will not 
live long enough to see the nation fully recovered 
from the effects of the war. 

That military training has proven a blessing to 
a comparatively small percentage of young men can 
not be denied, neither can it be denied that a much 
larger per cent have been injured very much morally 
and spiritually by the society of the army camp. 
Militarism has a few points in its favor, but it has 
charges enough against it, has proven a curse to 
humanity at large, has ruined lives enough for time 
and eternity to cast it into oblivion, never more to 
be resurrected. 


True Preparedness 

True preparedness is not in armies, does not lie 
in a large body of men well trained in military tac- 
tics and fully equipped navies, but in trust and 
obedience to the living God. If the United States 
had been right with Him, Germany could never have 
touched us to our hurt. The same is true of the 
other countries engaged against her. Notice Israel ; 
the Lord fought her battles so long as she truly 
served Him. At such times there were no records 
of thousands of fatalities as there were in the late 
war. It was when she forsook Him that her con- 
flicts came. It was then that her fatalities were 
high. True preparedness is in Jesus Christ, and in 
Him onJy. 
God's Overruling for Good 

Manufacturers of war materials and money 
kings were more interested in filling their pockets 
than in obeying the living God. Men thought more 
of the honor of their country than they did of fol- 
lowing the lowly Nazarene and waiting to see the 
salvation which the Lord would bring. With this 
condition in this country and war in Europe, it is 
not at all surprising that the United States was 
drawn into the conflict also. If she must fight she 
certainly must conscript, for people had learned too 
well that there is a better way to settle disputes 
than with instruments of death and destruction. 
They would not go in sufficient numbers by simply 
voluntary enlistment. Conscription dare not be by 
class based on religion, hence the conscientious ob- 
jector must go also. Our brethren went but they 
could not fight. They were made to suflTer, but in 


the majority of cases their trials proved to be bless- 
ings in disguise. They had time to study and they 
wanted to know what the Scriptures taught in ref- 
erence to the question at hand, and when brought 
before the officers they were ready to give an answer 
for the hope that was within them. Officers in many 
cases tried to bring Scriptures to justify war, only 
to be surprised to see how quickly these young men, 
much younger and supposed to be ignorant, could 
take every argument away from them. W. G. 
Kellogg, chairman of the Board of Inquiry, speaking 
of the conscientious objectors said, "These men 

knew their Bible They knew it narrowly, un- 

intelligently, but they knew it." The same author 
speaking of the Mennonite C. O., says, "His Bible, 
well-thum!bed, is surely somewhere in his deep 
pockets, and he can turn readily to almost any chap- 
ter that may be in question." While this was given 
with a tinge of ridicule, it must be admitted to be 
good testimony in this that it recognizes tfe'at Men- 
nonite young men know their Bibles. 

Two Lessons in these Incidents 

First, while it is true that many of our brethren 
*'knew their Bibles" on the points in question after 
they had been in camp for some time, it is also true 
that some of them would have fared better from the 
beginning if they had been more familiar with what 
the Bible taught before they went to camp. A good 
Bible knowledge is a valuable asset at all times. 
One of the most formidable obstacles in "getting the 
C. O. across" was a "Thus saith the Lord," on the 
tongue of the objector. 

Second, while the Bible is the greatest defense 


that any one could have at such a time, it should be 
remembered that this same Bible teaches that, **all 
that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer per- 
secution." It costs something to live the Christ life. 
When the trials came, not all stood the test. Of the 
estimated three thousand nine hundred C. O.'s, one 
hundred twenty-two were assigned to general mili- 
tary service by the Board of Inquiry, three hundred 
ninety to noncombatant service, fifteen hundred 
eighty-eight were judged sincere and were recom- 
mended for farm furlough or Friends reconstruction 
work. One table is given showing that of one thou- 
sand sixty C. O.'s examined in twelve different 
camps, five hundred fifty-four were Mennonites. It 
would be interesting to know how many of these 
came from each branch of the Church. While some 
branches have reported their number, others have 
not made very great efforts to gather this informa- 
tion. The main branch, simply termed "Menno- 
nites," has reported two hundred fifty-two who on 
conscientious grounds, refused to accept service; 
the Old Order Amish report one hundred twenty- 
eight, and the Hutterites, forty-nine. 

Need of More Christian Work 

Those who are interested in the moral and spir- 
itual uplift of humanity and at the same time have 
studied the effects of the war upon the thought-life 
as it is manifested in words and actions of mankind 
today have ample food for thought. Notwithstand- 
ing that claims have been made that we are on the 
verge of a great revival in religion, it is an acknowl- 
edged fact that profanity increased very rapidly in 
the camps and the soldier having returned to his 


home has not left his camp conversation behind him. 
There is a greater disregard for God and the deeper 
things of the Christian life than there was before the 
war. The Church has more to do at her own door 
than she had before the war, and if she fails to 
gather in more of this outside element and raise it 
to the standard of a life in Christ, she must herself 
expect spiritual and numerical loss. According to 
good authority one of the largest Protestant denom- 
inations lost more than sixty-nine thousand members 
in 1919 in the United States. The war has taught 
many lessons and none more forcibly than the fact 
that it has a ver}^ damaging effect on the morals of 
mankind and that Paul stated a very significant fact 
in Galatians 6:7 — "Whatsoever a man soweth, that 
shall he also reap." The world is reaping, but if 
the Church does not put forth her earnest efforts to 
stem the tide her own existence will be in danger. 
She, too, will reap ! 'Tf ye know these things, happy 
are ye if ye do them." 

Prophesies and Prophesies 

When the war assumed such large proportions 
there were a great many predictions as to the final 
results. Many thought that this was the consumma- 
tion of all things; that the great battle of Armaged- 
don would be fought in the western part of Pales- 
tine, and when the British entered that country from 
Egypt, even a few Mennonites were taken up with 
that idea, and saw in Revelation 16:16, just before 
the pouring out of the seventh vial of the wrath of 
God, the last great battle between good and evil. 
Scriptures were quoted showing that the United 
States would get into the conflict, and in the end 


would be sadly defeated; that she would become 
tributary to some other nation, not Germany. There 
were prophecies modern and prophesies ancient. The 
ancient ones were often twisted to fit the modern 
ones. The cause is easy to determine. Some one 
got an idea, then went to the Bible to get something 
to prove his point. People who follow this method 
of Bible study are not very apt to arrive at the truth. 
Study it, leaving out all preconceived ideas; study 
to get the truth it intends to convey, not what you 
want it to convey. Most of the prophecies made in 
reference to the war, and especially those which 
were considered as based on some Scripture passage. 
failed to come to pass, not because the Scriptures 
were not true, but because some one wanted to make 
them say something which they did not say. Study 
and discuss those things which are necessary to sal- 
vation and the spiritual welfare of mankind instead 
of speculating on Scripture passages. It is more 

Value of Right Living 

With conditions as enumerated, one can readily 
understand that normal thinking was hardly to be 
expected. Hence at such times, above all others, 
right living is highly essential. Regular food, not 
too great a variety, very plain, not excessive in 
amount but enough, seemed to agree with the young 
men in camp, and the majority of them were com- 
paratively healthy. The "conserving" campaign in 
the homes proved a blessing rather than a curse. 
These are lessons which should be retained. But 
the influence of right living in a higher and nobler 
sense was then, and is now, of still greater value. 


When thought in general was along lines of hatred, 
murder, and destruction ; when the newspapers were 
full of everything that was bad about the enemy; 
and when deeds were represented as good or bad 
according to who did them rather than on the merits 
or demerits of the act, it was indeed needful that the 
Christ-life should shine out very clearly. Thus 
every act would not only point to a better life but 
would also be a rebuke to sin which seemed to reign 
unchecked. Right living is always needful, but 
never more so than when, as then, Satan seemed to 
be taking everything by storm. The darker the 
night, the brighter the light shines and the more it 
is appreciated by the lost and weary traveler. May 
the lessons on right living, as taught by the war, 
not soon be forgotten. 



Military Training in the Schools 

There are a number of problems which have 
grown out of the war confronting our Church. Oth- 
ers existed earlier, but the great upheaval brought 
them more forcibly to the brotherhood and they are 
demanding a solution. Not the least of these is the 
question of military training in the schools. Some 
high schools, colleges, and universities have that in 
their courses of study, and to refuse to take the 
training means to be expelled from school. In many 
states the child is obliged to attend *hool until it 
is fourteen years of age, and some are in high school 
before that age. To obey their convictions and the 
teachings of the Church drives them away from the 
place which they were obliged to attend under a 
heavy penalty. This needs a solution. 

Universal Military Training 

There are a number of bills before Congress pro- 
viding for universal military training. These bills 
differ somewhat in their wording, but roughly speak- 
ing, they all finally aim at a two-year course of 
training somewhere between the ages of eighteen 
and twenty-six, and as stated in one of the bills^ 
"All persons trained under this act shaJl automat- 
ically become members of the national reserve - 


upon the completion of their training." In other 
words, if any one of these bills became a law, with- 
out exception aside from physical and mental unfit- 
ness, every young man in the land must take at least 
six months of training (the least time required by 
any of the bills now pending), and once trained, he 
"automatically" becomes a soldier subject to call at 
any time ; his only escape being the passing of his 
forty-sixth birthday. A number of petitions have 
come to some of the congressmen opposing the pass- 
ing of such a bill, one signed by more than twenty 
thousand members of the Mennonite Church asks 
tor exemption for nonresistants in case such a law 
is passed. 

The final result regarding such a law is not yet 
known. The young men of this country need to be 
saved from such a situation if that is possible, and 
if not possible then our young brethren need to 
know exactly what the position of the Church is on 
the question of military training, that as a body she 
is ready to suffer with them fi that is necessary. 
Military training and nonresistance are diametrically 
opposed to each other. Only one of these can live 
and thrive in the minds of the young people. As to 
which it shall be depends on the training and prac- 
tice of the present time in the home, in the school, 
and in the Church. Will the Church rise to her 
powers and responsibilities in Christ Jesus? Her 
interest in this question is shown in the quick re- 
sponses to the petition, and in the earnest prayers 
for protection and divine overruling. 


The Church needs to be ably, carefully, prayer- 


fully taught. Theories as well as subjects that are 
not Biblical, should be banished from the pulpit. 
The place is too sacred and the time too short to 
present anything which is not deeply rooted in God's 
Word. Truth needs to be thoroughly expounded so 
that the hearer may grasp it. The preacher should 
have no hobbies. The people w^ant to hear all that is 
necessary to salvation. If the Church is properly 
taught there is not nearly so much danger of her 
getting away from the truth. 

There is a great weakness in the work of in- 
doctrination in many pulpits at this time. Even 
Mennonite ministers are not clear enough on the 
issues which are popular. Desperate efforts are be- 
ing made at confederation, union, and the building 
up of a religion minus self-denial except as it is 
found in serving others, taking away sin without the 
blood of Christ, leaving the cross out of life, and 
leaving the unpopular out of Christianity. Let the 
ministry be thoroughly posted on what the Word of 
God teaches, let them listen quietly for the direc- 
tions of the Spirit, and let them study plans of im- 
pressing the truth in the most convincing ways. Let 
the teaching be done with all the tenderness of a 
father, and yet with the thunderings of Sinai, and, 
under God, results are sure to follow. 

Trench Salvation 

The trench salvation which was held up both in 
pulpit and camp has had a very damaging eflfect. 
Many ministers held that when one gave his life for 
his country he had a pretty sure passport to heaven. 
One minister in preaching to a large audience said, 
**The man who goes into this war and sheds his 


blood to save his country, to protect your home and 
mine, to preserve this United States as a land of the 
free, is as much a savior of men as Jesus Christ was. 
God and the angels would welcome such a man at 
the pearly gates of immortal glory." Is it surpris- 
ing that some of the denominations w^hich were most 
enthusiastic in encouraging men to go to war have 
lost most heavily in membership in the last few 
years? H. K. Carroll, compiler of the first official 
census of religions in the United States, claims that 
one of the leading Protestant denominations, in 1919, 
had a decrease of more than sixty-nine thousand ; 
another, more than thirty-five thousand ; and anoth- 
er, more than thirty-two thousand. To overcome 
this, partially a result of religious attitude of pulpit 
orations during the war, is a task. The Church 
needs to stand "four square" on the teachings of 
Eternal Truth. "Neither is there salvation in any 
other ; for there is none other name under heaven 
given among men, whereby we must be saved." 
Dying for country, for home, for wife and children, 
may be a seeming need, but it brings salvation to no 
man. The closer a church remained to the Gospel 
during the war, the more she is in a position now to 
win men back to the truth. 

Consistent Separation 

The Bible teaches a separation from the world. 
"Ye are not of the world." This position was taken 
by our brethren in camp, and as a rule was met with 
some consideration from the officers; but they ex- 
pected words and actions to correspond with the 
profession. When a C. O. smoked, chewed tobacco, 
swore, used vulgar language, or did a number of 


other things not consistent with his profession, his 
chances to get into the regular service in the army 
increased very materially. 

It has been suggested that should there be an- 
other war, there be more attention given by oflficials 
to the attitude on separation from the world. Those 
whose appearance and actions showed actual separa- 
tion would likely be excused from service while 
those who simply professed and did not show it 
would not be granted the rights that a C. O. had in 
this war. On the other hand, if the ministry does 
not teach a consistent separation from the world, 
two things are also very evident : first, that the 
young men are not likely to be separate; second, 
that it would be much harder for their brethren to 
get such freedom even if they were separate them- 

But the ministry is not alone responsible for this 
teaching. The Sunday school teacher is as responsi- 
ble as the minister, and possibly more so because he 
comes into such close touch with the pupil, and in 
his *'follow-up work" does not have so many to look 
after. Possibly a still greater responsibility comes 
to the home. If the child is trained for the world 
from infancy, it will be very hard to train it for Je- 
sus Christ when it is grown up. Then, too, separa- 
tion is not only a Bible doctrine in theory. The 
Lord would never have incorporated it in His Book 
if He did not expect it to be practiced. Here is a 
responsibility for every member of the Church. 

Abnormal Condidoms 

War itself is abnormal and tends to make every- 
thing else so. Much more food will be needed than 


in times of peace because it must be expected that 
much will be destroyed by the enemy, some go to 
the bottom of the sea or otherwsie be lost in transit 
or by improper storage. All due allowance must be 
made for waste in the process of preparation be- 
cause of inexperienced cooks. The number of food 
producers and factory workers will be materially 
decreased because these producers have gone to war 
and will be consumers and not producers. Money 
will be inflated and large investments will be made 
in wild schemes to get rich quick. All these things 
tend to increase prices of food-stuffs and manufac- 
tured articles. It costs more to live and the price 
of labor rises rapidly, which only tends to raise the 
prices of the necessities of life still more, and labor 
asks for another raise ; and so it goes. 

When the war closes there must be a period of 
re-adjustment and here is where the trial comes. 
Labor has had higher wages and shorter hours. 
There is a general demand for a reduction of prices 
on food-stuffs to pre-war levels. Self-interest says, 
"It cost me so much ; I can not sell it at a sacrifice." 
Labor aids in the cry against high prices but says, 
""There must be no change in price of labor or in 
the length of hours." At once unrest and even riots 
are started. Strikes become the order of the day, 
and there is a general unrest. Creation of public 
sentiment, legislation, and what not are tried but 
without the desired results. Everything is tried 
-except the right thing. Let humanity try the Gospel 
plan of looking toward the welfare of others as well 
as to its own and see how quickly these things 

The problem of unrest is not so much a problem 


for the Church as a body as for the individuals com- 
posing that body. This spirit of unrest is destruc- 
tive to the best interests of the home, the commun- 
ity, and the nation. It requires the spirit of Jesus 
Christ to help us to be patient, to shov^ that we live 
above these things and for a better purpose. The 
darkness of the world is great, but the darker the 
night the more effective the light. Now, as very few 
times in the history of the nation, it is extremely 
necessary for every Christian to show a spirit of 
calmness, cheerfulness (with sobriety) and confi- 
dence, all of which are clearly rooted in Jesus Christ 
— such a spirit as only the Christian can show. "I 
can do all things through Christ which strengthen- 
eth me." 

Evangelizing America 

The year 1919 shows the smallest gains in 
church membership (all churches) since 1907 and 
possibly for many years before that. Think of it,, 
only about four and one-fifth per cent, of the gains of 
1917. The showing for the Mennonite Church is 
much better than that, some of the conferences hav- 
ing gains in 1919 equal to or greater than those of 
1917, but that larger increase in membership means 
larger responsibilities in evangelizing America. By 
this we do not mean that every one must be gath- 
ered into the fold of Christ, but the bringing of the 
Gospel to America so that every one may know 
something about Christ, and be intelligently enough 
informed on the question of salvation that he could 
find Christ if he so desired. This is necessary for 
our own maintenance. If we will not work system- 
atically and persistently to this end for any other 


reason, we should be awakened to the need from that 
standpoint; but above all we should remember that 
the Great Commission, in the words of Jesus Christ, 
commands it. We absolutely ought not to rest until 
all ''from the least unto the greatest" shall have the 
opportunity to personally know our Savior, first, be- 
cause He has commanded it and, second, that we be 
not swallowed up by the world. 

Our Place in the Mission Field 

If the Mennonite Church does not bring some- 
thing essential to the world which other churches 
are leaving out, especially in the next two decades; 
if she will not reach out and fill some place with the 
Gospel which other churches will not fill ; if she will 
not supply workers where other churches fail to sup- 
ply, she will be missing the opportunities of a cen- 
tury. God has favored her as He has very few others 
in the last five years. We can show our apprecia- 
tion in no better way than to carry the Gospel to 
His creation in other parts of the world. We have 
the young people to send and we have the money to 
send them. The fact that we hold our membership 
in that religious organization says to the world that 
w^e believe that she has the right doctrine, that sal- 
vation through Christ comes to those who accept 
that teaching, and that those who do not have Jesus 
Christ are lost. Believing all this, the Mennonite 
Church should re-double her eftorts and work un- 
ceasingly with the aim of establishing Christian 
work in every foreign mission field in the world, and 
establishing churches by the score west of the Mis- 
sissippi River, where there are areas of a thousand 
square miles, and even cities of considerable size 


with no established Protestant Christian Church of 
any kind. Is it not selfish and un-Christlike to be 
willing to enjoy the benefits of a religion without 
making an earnest effort to have others to enjoy the 
same benefit? It is a real problem for us to educate 
our people to the need and so lay the matter upon 
their hearts that they will do much more for the 
spreading of the Gospel than has been done to this 

The Money Side 

"The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness there- 
of." "The cattle on a thousand hills are mine." 
"Whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine." 
"All the earth is mine." This shows very clearly 
that all our possessions — whether moneys, bonds, or 
lands — all are the Lord's. Man's position is simply 
that of a steward. He is responsible for the way he 
uses it. When he uses it for himself, or puts it into 
the bank, or invests it in land when the Lord needs 
it and man will not give it, it is as much a sin as if 
he has another man's possessions and will not re- 
turn them. It is a problem how to get this before 
the people in a way that they will receive it and do 
their duty. 

The Other Side 

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in 
Christ Jesus." "All things that I have heard of my 
Father I have made known unto you." Christ gave 
all that He had. finally life itself, that the world 
might know. He gave all that He had received. 
Dearly beloved! we are not doing that. He wants 
us to do it. Money is needed, but that is not all. 


We need to give (go) ourselves. That is the way 
Christ did. 

We should freely give our sons and daughters. 
We should encourage the young people of the 
Church to willingly give themselves. Instead of this 
many of the churches refuse to ordain young men so 
long as they are not needed for the work at home. 
How very different this is from the mind of Christ. 
The Mennonites have a very large percentage 
of their young people gathered into the Church, and 
many of them are active — but could and would do 
much more if they were urged more. Nothing has 
a more wholesome effect than to have a work for 
every member and every member doing that work. 
If the Church wants a deeper work of grace in the 
home congregation, if she wants less of selfishness — 
in short, if she wants Christ fully established she 
must have a greater interest in the salvation of the 
lost world. If your son or daughter wants to go to 
other lands to carry the Gospel to the lost, are you 
'icady to lend encouragement from the first? 

"Th€ Field is the World'* 

That is what the Savior said, and if it was 
'Svhite to harvest" then, what is the condition now? 
Since then it has enlarged and is over-ripe. The 
War has made about as much difference in the world 
from a missionary point of view as it has politically. 
The Moslem's confidence is shaken. Mecca, his 
sacred city; the cave of Machpelah, the tomb of 
Abraham; the Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem — all 
places which are greatly reverred — are in the hands 
of their enemies. Has the Allah of the Moslem for- 
saken His people? Either that, or the ''Christian 


infidel" has been favored of God for some other 
purpose. Can the Moslem continue in this wsiy? 
The Hindus, regardless of caste, have elbowed their 
way through the war, side by side, on an equal 
basis. Such a thing could never have occurred ia 
India. Can their old system stand such a shock? 
The Czar of Russia was the head of the Gre^ 
Church, and many were the missionaries and native 
preachers who were compelled to quit preaching, or 
leave the country, or be banished to Siberia. The 
Czar is gone, the Greek Catholics are more or less 
at sea. O, the wonderful, wonderful open doors for 
mission work! The bankrupt condition of Euro>iJ»c 
and the numerical losses of some of the larger de- 
nominations in the last year, while the Mennonite 
Church has been blessed with an increased membcr- 
F,hip, doubles our responsibilities. May she be hum- 
ble and sufficiently consecrated to continue in this 
great work. 

"Church of God, awake, arise." 

Let these words be sung with the pathos of a 
burdened soul, ladened with responsibility, a burden 
which can never be satisfied with anything less thao 
the salvation of the lost, the upbuilding of God*s 
kingdom, and the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
With the unsettled conditions in the world, how- 
very necessary this is ! May our loving Father h^p 
us to see the importance of this problem. 

Why Was She Kept? 

Other denominations have sprung up, have lived 
a while and were then swallowed up by newer ones, 
or have themselves grown until they number their 
adherents by the hundred thousands. The Menno- 


mte Church has lived for four centuries, but in spite 
of her age she is still one of the smaller bodies. 
Why has she thus existed? She ranks fairly high in 
the amount of wealth per capita, and has that wealth 
^Mite evenly distributed. She has for the last two or 
three decades been gathering her young people into 
tfee Church remarkably well, and many are prepar- 
img themselves for special service. This is sugges- 
tive of two things: first, that through all these cen- 
tuaries God has had a purpose in sustaining her, and 
it was He who made it possible that the young peo- 
ple could be thus gathered in and the wealth so 
<rvenly distributed ; second, that if the Church neg- 
lescts, at this time of great need, to send her young 
imcti and women and her money to other lands in 
SKich numbers and amounts as the Lord wants and 
rxgbtly expects for the spreading of sound doctrine — 
tfee doctrine of atonement through the substitution- 
cry death of Christ upon the cross, salvation in Him 
and in Him only — unless she wakes up and does the 
win of the Lord in this she need not be surprised if 
€kid withdraws His blessings and allows those who 
fed been favored to grope their way in darkness as 
fcest they can. That would mean decline and death 
in 3 few short years. He has woniierfully blest for 
a purpose. Let that purpose have our foremost 
thought, our best efforts, and our ardent prayers. 

It is not the purpose of this book to parade the 
Mennonite Church, nor the boys in camp, nor those 
wBo in their homes have passed through severe 
trials, except in so far as may be needed to show the 
practical side of nonresistance, and the way that the 
^Hiestiofl was met under pressure. May it be a 


means of strengthening the Church in the doctrine 
of our Savior, of pointing out this doctrine more 
fully to the world, and of helping future generations 
to meet the issues that grow out of opposition to it 
in a better way than we have met them, and thereby 
be better able to convince others of the practicability 
of this much neglected subject — NONRESIST- 
ANCE. The degree of success or failure of this 
book depends on how well it accomplishes this end. 


Abnormal Conditions 230 

Abraham Lincoln 31, 34 

Absence, Leave of 81 

Accepting Pay 110 

Admonitions to Those at 
Schwyz 18 

A Good Suggestion 109 

Agriculture and Relief 192 

Albigenscs 17 

Alcatraz 113,135,146 

Aleppo 200, 202, 204 

Allgyer, Roy 196 

Allgyer, Samuel E. 183, 185, 

Alliances 40 

Alms Giving 15 

Alponsus of Aragon 17 

America, Evangelizing 232 

America, Mennonites Com- 
ing to, 21 

American Committee 196 

American Friends 181, 186 

American Squad 151 

America's National Honor 41 

Amish 28, 67, :^, 11 

Anabaptists 20 

Analyzing Nonresistance 42 

A New Problem 42 

Another Reason for Oppos- 
ing War 44 

Application of Nonresistant 
Principles 53 

A Questionnaire 89 

Arch Duke Francis Ferdi- 
nand 39 

A Retrospect 148 

Armenia, Work in, 183, 184 

Arrival at Fort Leavenworth 

A Scare 87 

Attitude at Washington 147 
Attitude of the Young Men 

at Camp 92, 93 
Attitude toward Noncombat- 

ant Service 51 
Attitude toward Declaring 

War 41 
Avenues through which to 

Help 138, 181 

Baker, Newton D., Secretary 

of War. 66, 68, 103, 169 
Baptism, Value of, 15 
Beginnings of the Church, 

Beirut, 196, 202, 205 
Bender, D. H. 167 
Bender, G. L. 178 
Benefits to Parents 171 
Benefits to Camp Officials 

Benner, R. W. 159, 163 
Bible 14, 16, 129, 221, 122, 

Board of Inquiry, 103, 105, 

107. 172 
Bontrager, M. E., 163 
Building Houses as Relief 

Work 190, 191 
Burned Alive 16 
Butchery, Scientific 48 

Calvin and Nonresistance 19 
Camp Commanders, Benefits 



to, 173 

Camp Experiences 122 

Camp Officials, Position of. 

Camp Visitation, 122, 167, 

Canada, Our Brethren in, 31, 
42, 70 

Captain Hough 103 

Carnal Weapons 13 

Catharine II, Czarina of 
Russia 21 

Catharists 16 

Causes for Relief Work 177 

Cause for World War, Seem- 
ing, 39 

Causes for the World War, 
Underlying, 39 

Centralizing the Work 170 

Christian Good 32 

Christianity Religion of State 
14, 15 

Church, Beginnings of, 13 

Church Centers 13 

Church Letters 74 

Church Membership 14 

Church of the Brethren 68 

Church Ordinances 15 

Church of Rome 17 

Civil War 31 

Civil War Trials 32, 33 

Classification 90. 104, 105, 

Clinton Frame Church, Meet- 
ing at, 58 

Coffman, S. F. 71 

Committee of Inspection and 
Observation 27, 28 

Committee Sent to Wash- 
ington 65, 66 

Committees, Work of, 167 

Communion 15. 170 

Compromise on Nonresist- 
ance 25 

Conditions Abnormal 230 

Conditions in Europe 22, 23. 

Confederate Government 33, 

Confid'ence in the War De- 

partment 88 
Confidence Instilled 88 
Conrad's Address, Senator, 

Conscientious Objector (C. 

O.) 23, 94, 95, 96, 97, 99. 

C. O.'s Threatened While on 

Furlough 108 
C. O.'s and Other Prisoners 

Conscription 59 
Conserving for the Kingdom 

of God 117 
Conservation Taught by the 

War 215 
Consistent Separation 229 
Constantine 13 
Constantinople, Work Begun 

at. 198, 209, 211, 213 
Corruptions in the Church 

Corruptions c^ the Clergy. 

Councils of Defense, Early, 

Councils of Defense, Later. 

Courts Martial 81. 112 
Courts Martial, Mock, 122, 

131, 132 
Creed 13 

Crimea, Work in, 211 
Criticisms 174 
Crowder, General, 99, 101, 

Customs, Heathen 13 
Cyprian's View 14 

Decree of King Alfonsus 17 
Delegation of Russians to 

America 208 
Denominations among the 

C. O.h 100, 101 
Derstine, William. 1», 185, 

Development of Papacy 15 
Difference between United 

States ami Canada 71 
Difference Ea^t and West 72 



Different Positions Taken 53 

Discharges 110 

Disciplinary Barracks 113, 

District and Local Tribunals 


Draft Boards 86 
Draftees Tested 35 
Draftee's Fine, The, "hi 
Dimkards 33 
Duty of Pastors 167 

Early Councils of Defense 26 

East and West Canada 72 

Effect of Military Training 

Effect of the Questionnaire 

Effects of Exemption Con- 
trasted Zl 

Emigration, Militarism and 

Emigration to Canada 31 

England 31 

English Friends 181 

Erasmus on Nonresistance 19 

Espionage Law 158, 160, 161, 

European Trend and Nonre- 
sistance 25 

EvangeHzinff America 232 

Ewart, H. H. 71 

Examinations 88, 101, 102, 
140, 141 

Exceptions of the Act IZ, 77 

ExemptBon 21, 23, 24, 25, 28, 
29, 33, 70, 78, 88 

Experiences, A Few, 152 

Experiences in Camp 122 

"Faith of Our Fathers" 136 

False Patriotism ISO 

Farm Furloughs 104, 105, 
106, 108 

Federals 34 

Feelings against Mennonites 

Ferdinand, Arch Duke Fran- 
cis 39 

Field is the World 235 

Finances and Mennonites 30 
Fines 29, 32, ZZ, 34, 35, V 
First Contingent Sent to the 

East 184 
Fleeing for life 202 , 
Flu. 146 21S 
Folly of Militarism 219 
Forks Church 179 
Fort Leavenworth 113, 120, 

135. 144, 148 
France 25, 181, 182, 186, 192 
Franconia Conference 66, 169 
Freedom from Military Serv- 
ice 21 
Freedom of Worship, etc. 21 
Friends. English and Ameri- 
can 181 
Friends' Mission 187 
Furloughs, Farm 104, 105 
Furnishing Men and Money, 

Opposite Views on, 42 
Furnishing Men for Relief 
Work 182 

Gang Work 143 . 

General Bell 97 

General Sherntin 45 

General Conference 56, 60^ 

Germany 21, 22, 25 

German Prisoners in Relief 
Work 194 

Germantown, Mennonites at,. 

Germantown, Stone Church 
at, 30 

Getting an understanding 169 

Getting Men tp Accept Serv- 
ice 93, 94, 95 

Giving the Soldiers a "Send- 
off" 91 

Giving Your Sons and 
Daughters 235 

Gnosticism 14 

Gotfs Overruling 220 

Going to Leavenworth 136 

G»»d, L B. 167, 169 

Gree4 49 

Guard-house 69, 81,, 96^ 

Guards 143 



Habecker, J. C 167, 169 
Hartzler, E. F. 66 
Hartzler, J. S. 171 
Heathen Customs 13 
Heatwole, L. J. 33, 34, 159, 

Heresies, 13 
Heretics, 14, 17 
Hiebert, A. E. 197 
Hofers, The, 146 
Holland 25 

Holmes, John Haynes, 16 
Holmes and Orchard on War 

Holy Spirit, 14 
House of Commons 80 
Human Reconstruction 52 
Hussites 20 
Hutterites 146 

Immortality and War 46 
Important Meetings 

Kitchener, Ont. 55 

General Conference, 1915 

Ohio Conference 58 

Clinton Frame Church 39 

General Conference, 1917 

Meetings with Secretary of 
War, Baker 66 
Indoctrination 227 
Influenza, 146. 218 
Injudicious Camp Visiting 

Issues Involved 49 

Jealousy and the War 40 

Jerusalem 13 

John Haynes Holmes 16 

Kansas City Lockup 136 

Kansas City Papers 144 

Kellogg, W. G. 221 

Kcppel. F. P. 68 

Kind of Work 193 

Kratz, Clayton 210. 211, 213 

Lack of Uniformity among 
Camp Officials 93 

Lack of Uniformity in Fur- 
lough Plans 106 
Leavenworth, Fort, 113, 120, 

135, 144, 148, 187 
Leavenworth, Going to, 136 
Leave of Absence 81, 82, 83 
Lessons taught by the War 

Lesser Wars of America 31 
Letter of Thanks 28 
Letter to President Wilson 

and Premier Gordon 57 
Libby Prison 33 
Liberty Bonds 150 
Lincoln, President, 31, 34 
Load of Militarism, The, 44 
Local and District Boards 86 
Local and District Tribunals 

Loucks, Aaron, 65, 68, 167, 

169, 170, 171, 185 
Luther and Nonresistance 18 
Lynch's Statement on War 

Lyons, France, 16 

Major Kellogg on the C. O. 

Manichaeanism 14 

Martin Luther 18 

Martyrdom 16 

Maxentius 14 

McCrea, R. C, 109 

Meals 145 

Meade. Camp, 168, 169 

Meeting at Kitchener 55 

Menno Simons 19 

Menno Simons and Nonre- 
sistance 19 

Menno Simons. His Work 
and Death 20 

Mennonite Board of Mis- 
sions and Charities 178 

Mennonite Board of Mis- 
sions and Charities, East- 
ern. 180. 185 

Mctmonite General Confer- 
ence 56, 60. 158 

Mennonite Relief Commis- 
sion 179. 185. 186 



Mennonites and the Draft 35 
Mennonites and Finances 30 
Mennonites and Nonresist- 
ance, 23, 24, 25 
Mennonites Coming to A- 

merica 21, 23 
Mennonites in Canada 180 
Mennonites in France, Fifty- 
three, 187 
Mennonites in Germany 23 
Mennonites in Russia 21, 24 
Mennonites in Siberia 21 
Mennonites in the Civil War 

32, 33 
Mennonites in the South 32 
Mennonites on MiHtary Serv- 
ice 61-65 
MiHtarism and Exemption 

23, 28 
MiHtarism and Emigration 

22, 25 
Militarism, Folly of, 44, 219 
MiHtarism, Growth of, 23 
Military Laws 23, 32 
MiHtary Prison 81 
Military Service Act 71, 72, 

73, 76, 79, 80 
Military Training 23, 41, 226, 

Military Uniform 23 
Miller, Alvin J. 197 
Miller, D. D. 167, 169 
Miller, O. O. 185, 210 
Miller, S. H. 163, 164 
Mine, and yet not mine 218 
Misrepresented Motives 52 
Missionary Conference 179 
Missionary Efifort 13 
Mission Field, Our place 233 
Mob Violence 29, 37. 151 
Money Side 234 
Montanism 14 
Motives, Misrepresented, 52 

Napolianic Ideas 22 

Near East Relief Commis- 
sion 209, 210 

Need for More Christian 
Work 222 

"New Wars for Old" 45 

Nicol, James H., 202 

Night Raids 150 

Nissley, Bishop Peter R., 

Noncombatant Service 43, 50, 
64, 78, 79 

Noncombatant Service, Atti- 
tude toward 51 

Noncombatant Service Ex- 
pected 74 

Nonresistance 17, 19, 24, 25, 
37, 42, 49, 72, 74, 82, 96, 

Nonresistance Affects Ac- 
tions 26 

Nonresistance, Analyzing, 42 

Nonresistance the Only Is- 
sue 49 

Nonresistance, Reformers 
and, 18 

Nonresistance, William Penn 

and, 26 

No Uniform Decisions 78 

Nonresistant Principles, Ap- 
plications of, 53 

Number of Nations in the 
World War 53 

Oath of Allegiance 29 

Objections to Service in Re- 
construction Hospitals 52 

Office Seeking, Church. State 

Officials of Canada 77, 78, 
79, 80, 83 

Ohio Conference 58 

Old Order Amish Menno- 
nites 66 

"O My Soul Bless Thou Je- 
hovah" 136 

Ontario Mennonites 70-74 

Orchard and Holmes on War 

Order-in-Council 71, 72, 73, 
75, 80 

Ordinances 15 

Other Side 234 

Our Brethren in Canada 70 

Our Place in the Mission 
Field 233 



Our Obligations 179 
Overcrowded Conditions 145 

Pastors, Duty of, 167 

Parliament and the Commit- 
tee 80 

Patriotism, False, 150 

Paul, 13 

Paulicans 15 

Penn, William, 21 

Penn (William) and Nonre- 
sistance 26 

Pennsylvania 21 

Persecutions 13, 15, 16, 18, 

Persecutions, Advantages of, 

Persecuted, Menno Simons, 

Persecutors and the Perse- 
cuted 14 

Persecutions from Within 15 

Political Objectors 100, 101 

Poor Draftee's Fine Paid 2>7 

Pope 15 

Position of Early Christians 
on War 16 

Position of Mennonites on 
War 45, 56, 61 

Position of Mennonites to- 
ward Government 43 

Position of Officials 91, 174 

Position of Church on Fur- 
nishing Men and Money 

Position of Church Tested 

Position of Young Men 93 

Presidential Election and its 
Effects 41 

Preparation for War 41 

Preparedness 220 

Pre-War Military Laws 2>2 

Probation of Prisoners 137 

Prisoners; Dangers 138 

Prisoners' Probation 137 

Prisoners* Rights 139 

Prison Clothes 136 

Prison Persecutions 138 

Privy Council of Canada 71 

Problems for the Church 226 
Profanity 46 
Pro-German 49 
Prophesies and Prophesies 


Board 139 

Quakers 28, 71, 73 
Quartermaster Service 23 
Questionnaire, The, 89, 90 

Reconstruction 181, 184 
Reconstruction. Human, 52 
Reconstruction Hospitals 53 
Red Cross 150, 199, 210 
Reformers and Nonresistance 

Refugees 177, 184, 187, 190, 

201, 202, 213 
Registration 75, 86, 87 
Relief Commission, Menno- 

nite, 179, 180 
Relief Fund 84 
Relief Organization 83 
Relief Work 85, 177, 184 
Relief Workers, Dentists^ 

Doctors, etc. 193 
Relief Workers Establish 

Stores 192 
Relief Work, Using German 

Prisoners for, 195 
Religious Objectors 100, 101, 

Retrospect, A, 148 
Right Living, Value of, 224 
Roman Empire 16 
Romanism 14, 15 
Room Mates 144 
Russia 21 
Russian Delegation to U. S. 

Russian Immigration 71 
Russian Mennonites 7i, 74 

Sabellianism 14 

Salvation, Trench, 47 

Scientific Butchery 48 

"Schrecklechkeit" 41 

Scriptures 224 

Scripture, Translation of, 16 



Scriptures, Power to Inter- 
pret, 14 
Secretary of War, Baker 66 
Seeming Cause of World 

War 38 
Segregation 109, 168 
Selective Draft Regulations 

Separation, Consistent, 229 
"Shall He Work?" 142 
Shenandoah Valley 34 
Sheridan's Raid 34 
Shetler. S. G. 67 
Siberia, Mennonites in, 21 
Simons, Menno 19 
Size of Disciplinary Barracks 

Slackers 49 

Slagel, Arthur, 210, 212 
Slavery 31 
Smith's Church History 28, 

29, 30 
Smoking and Profanity 46 
Smucker, Vernon 183, 185 

SoHtary, The, 142, 146 
Some Experiences in Camp 

Some Officers a Trial to the 

C O.'s 95, 96 
Specially Qualified Officers 

for the C O.'s 97 
Spirit of Unrest 232 
Star Parole 137, 143 
Stauffer, N. B., 75, Id 
Stockades 122 
"Strong Arm Squad" 151 
Sugar Creek Budget 163 

Testing the Draftee 35 

The Tobacco Trust and the 

Christians 46 
Thomas. Norman A., 100 
Tories and Mennonites 27 
Translation of the Scriptures 

Trap for the Christians 45 
"Trench Salvation" 47, 228 
Trial to the Officers, The C. 

O. a, 96 
Tunkers 70, 71, 72, 75, 76, 

78, 82, 180 
Trip to France 185 
Two Lessons 221 

Ulrich Zwingli 18 
Undue Criticism 174 
Uniform. Wearing the, 82 
Uniformity, Lack of, 89 
United States at War with 

Germany 42 
United States District Court 

United States Drawn into 

the War 41 
Unrest, Spirit of, 232 

Value of Right Living 224 

Verdun Sector 188 

View of the Church and the 
World on Furnishing Men 
and Money 42 

Volunteers for Military Serv- 
ice 31 

"Vote for Wilson" 41 

Waldo, Peter, 16, 17 

Waldenses 16, 17 

Walker's Address, District 
Attorney, 160 

War and Immorality 46 

War Countries, Condition of, 

War Declared 41 

War Defined 45 

War Lords' Influence 40 

War Taught Conservation 

War Taxes 29 

Why Kept? 236 

Wiens, J. J., 21 

Wailful Neglect 173 

William Penn 21 

Wilson, President, 81, 150, 

Wilson's Definition for Non- 
combatant Service 51 

Wipf, Jacob. 146 

Work at Disciplinary Bar- 
racks 142 


Baron, 111 

Work in Armenia and Syria 

Work of Committees 167 
Work-or-fight Plan Id 
Worldly Insecurity 217 
World War, Seeming and 

Underlying Causes, 39 


Wrong Classification 91 
Y. M. C. A. 150 
Yoder, E. Z., 167 
Yoder, S. C, 167 
Zwingli, Ulrich, 18, 19 
Zurich 19